Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance wants to make sure everybody knows the Red Raiders have three players in Sunday’s Super Bowl. And if it coincides with national signing day, all the better.
Tech officials, under direction from Hance, purchased a half-page, full-color ad in USA Today, the Denver Post and papers all over Texas — including the American-Statesman — to congratulate Wes Welker, Manny Ramirez and Louis Vasquez for reaching the Super Bowl.
“Texas Tech University is proud of the three Red Raiders starting on Sunday. #IAmARedRaider,” the ad copy states under three giant photos of all three players.
It should be noted that Texas has three former defensive backs in Sunday’s game, too. Quentin Jammer and Michael Huff will line up for the Broncos while Earl Thomas will patrol the secondary for the Seahawks. It’s the fifth time in six years the Longhorns have had multiple players in the Super Bowl.
Texas and Texas Tech are also tied for second nationally with the most active former players in the big game. The Texas media relations office has been promoting their former players on social media and on the athletic department web site.
Tech officials were kicking around an idea about how to honor their three players when Hance called and pressed the issue, Tech spokesman Chris Cook said.
The money for the ad purchases came from the Chancellor’s Council fund, which is derived exclusively from donations. Hance has full discretion over the funds. No public tax dollars were used for the ad buys, Cook said.
The ad ran in newspapers in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Abilene, Amarillo, Midland, Odessa and Wichita Falls.
Reaching the Super Bowl is certainly an honor for any player. But in a stroke of good timing, the ad is running all over the state just before Wednesday, the day when high school seniors all over the country sign their national letters of intent to play college football.
Coincidentally, the Tech ad comes at a time when Texas A&M is also making a big marketing push. The Aggies recently bought billboard space around the state with a photo of coach Kevin Sumlin wearing sunglasses and the message, “This is A&M Country.”
Texas has never done a big marketing push for its major athletic programs. Some school officials believe they don’t have to. The only real advertising Texas does in major cities is for its business school MBA programs.
During Sunday’s Super Bowl, some of the most successful companies in America — think of Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola — will shell out millions to advertise products everyone knows about.
Should Texas think about doing the same?
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