NCAA F

FSU's new GPS technology will start a college football arms race

Florida State's acquisition of new GPS technology will make other colleges notice (©GettyImages)
Florida State's acquisition of new GPS technology will make other colleges notice (©GettyImages).

In the world of college football haves and have-nots, one team just launched itself light-years ahead of the pack.

The Florida State Seminoles used GPS technology to track thousands of vital information about their players the last few years, on their way to becoming national champions in 2013, according to an ESPN report. With thousands of lines of data being analyzed by a former rocket scientist, the team was able to cut down injuries and tailor practices to make sure players were optimized to play on game day.

Now that the Seminoles have discovered the inside track to a national title, watch as other top college programs line up for equipment of their own.

Would Alabama be willing to pony up the $25,000 cost to rent 30 monitors for a year, plus the salaries of two top-paid assistants to comb through the data?

They already did. It helps that the Crimson Tide earned $143 million in revenues last year. A quarter of a hundred-thousand dollars is chump change.

But what about Georgia? Or Ohio State? Oregon? What about any other top contender with cash to spare and a hankering to join the new-tech revolution that is becoming sports?

In the high stakes, high profits world of college sports, everyone will want in on this.

The devices were made by Catapult Sports, an Aussie company which had never had an American football client when the Seminoles came calling four years ago. Two assistant coaches had seen the technology used on a rugby team, ESPN reported, and made the easy pitch to coach Jimbo Fisher.

Now the program is being used by 11 National Football League teams and 15 college football teams, according to the Catapult Sports' website.

What may be the best part of the devices is that they take the emotions out of coaching and replace them with hard data. The intuitions that coaches have had are either proved or disproved, making it easy to see where changes need to be made.

While it used to be difficult to demand a top effort from players during practice, now a coach can pull up a data chart and see who was slacking. Speed can be measured instantly, without having to rely on the proverbial eye-test. A training staff can lessen the load of one player who routinely does more work than the rest.

These may seem like minor things, but imagine being able to make these adjustments to each player on a 90-man roster. Imagine being able to optimize the workout patterns of each player in conjunction with the others, so that they only receive the type of work they need, rather than having to just do whatever the rest of the team is doing for the day.

That's the type of flexibility which has coaches salivating at equipment like this.

And in order to compete, teams will be lining up to have their hand at it.

Topics:
College Football Playoff
NCAA F

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