OhVarsity! State of the Union and Reader Survey

[William Howard Taft]

[William Howard Taft]

The end of Cincinnati’s participation in the NCAA tournament brings another year of OhVarsity! to a close. There will still be things to talk about in the coming weeks—baseball, spring football, Mick Cronin, Jarron Cumberland’s decision—but the bulk of my writing is done until August. I hate this time of year. I’ve hit ‘publish’ 77 times since football kicked into gear eight months ago, and I’m not ready to let go of that rhythm.

I want to thank all of you for riding with me this season. Football and basketball both appeared to be lukewarm, at least by UC standards, but both delivered incredible seasons, which makes my job both easy and fun. Barring some wild national championship run, it’s hard to imagine an athletic year being easier to cover than this one has been. The fans responded. This blog had more readers than I ever thought humanly possible, and we hit 5,000 followers on Twitter a month ago. Thank you all for the support.

Here’s an idea of what I’m working on until mid-August when football season kicks back into gear:

  • Finishing the Nippert Stadium timeline I promised you. It’s coming along nicely! I’ve completed it through 1970! I want to make sure it’s in good shape before I share.

  • Rethinking the OhVarsity! Podcast. In case you haven’t noticed, we completely stopped doing it. I’d like to bring it back with a format that (1) is less demanding of my time and (2) is evergreen. As much as I enjoy chatting with Matt about the week’s games, I already write about them on the blog and the timely nature of the format makes the episode irrelevant after a few days. It feels impractical to spend 3-4 hours a week on a podcast that will be worthless 72 hours after publishing. I won’t make any promises on what the new format will be or when it will return, just know that it’s something I’d like to get back to doing. The podcast is not cancelled, just on hiatus.

  • Writing some history stuff. Last year I did the history of Old McMicken Hall. Two years ago I did the 1975 Ohio River Music Festival. Three years ago I wrote about Sander Hall. I love writing these, and it seems people love reading them, but the research element makes them difficult to complete during football and basketball season. Look for some of that stuff this summer. I have a list, but feel free to make suggestions as well.

  • Updating the website. I already did a quick pass in February and made some tweaks an improvements, but I’d like to continue building it. In my dreams, OhVarsity.com is not just a place to read a blog but a resource for fans. (The forthcoming Nippert timeline is a step in this direction.) Have ideas? Scroll to the bottom of this post to find out how you can share with me.

  • Going on some podcasts. Have a podcast? Let me join you this summer! Bearcat Withdrawal Syndrome will set in by May and I’ll be desperate to chat about UC.

  • Shirts! This is currently in the research and development phase. I’m designing stuff now and figuring out how to get them in your hands easily. If you or someone you know has the ability to help on the production end, let me know! My biggest concerns are retail price and quality.

  • Sending out stickers. Remember when some of you gave me your address for stickers like eight months ago? Yeah… I’m sorry.

What am I missing? I want you to tell me.

(I really made a survey. It’s short and will take just a few minutes.)

I did something similar a couple years ago. It was beneficial and helped me tweak where I devoted free time. I’m always gonna write about football and basketball. I’m always gonna write about UC history. I’m always gonna write about what I want to write about. However, all things being equal, I’d like to give people what they want. If there’s something that’s missing in your Bearcat media landscape, I’d like to try to fill in the gaps. I can’t promise I will put your suggestions into action, but it helps inform big-picture strategy.

That’s it for now. This blog will get a quieter for the summer unless something major happens. In the meantime, stay connected on Twitter.