We have all been there — it is the beginning of spring and we start to get college football withdrawals. We miss waking up on Saturday morning with a sense of excitement mixed with a dash of nervousness. Full days of tailgating, walking through the ramp entrance and even the game itself seem like distant memories in the spring.
Thus, a college football fan’s greatest ally: the spring game. Each year we see otherworldly attendance reports for these glorified scrimmages (Ohio State’s 100,000 in 2016 immediately comes to mind) that are used as bragging rights for the nation’s most rabid fan bases. However, while these games are important for invigorating football fans around the country, there are also many more practical effects that the spring game has on a university.
Introducing the early enrollees
Spring games are an excellent time to introduce the early arrivals from the previous recruiting class. Over the next couple of weeks, numerous early enrollees from the class of 2018 will have the opportunity to play in their home stadiums in front of a crowd for the first time. This is an excellent learning experience for the fresh recruits, as it allows them to get the feel of playing in a college football atmosphere, while also being exposed to the fanbase.
For these early enrollees and deep depth chart players, the spring game offers valuable experience and gives them a chance to wow coaches in a game setting.
Just behind the early enrollees are the recruits of the upcoming recruiting class. Many recruits take visits to school’s spring games to get up close and personal early in the recruiting year. This is a school’s chance to make early impressions by putting on a show prior to the season even getting started.
Recruits can also only visit so many spring games. For this reason, schools have the opportunity to make a unique and lasting impact on the recruit. This area is no different than any other business: the school has to compete for the best candidates on the market.