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The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan have agreed to halt the printing of athletic team media guides in an effort to develop new media initiatives for more effective communications and help with cost containment.

“With the new media environment and current economic climate, the decision to cut back in this area was prudent,” Bill Martin, University of Michigan Director of Athletics, said. “The discussion to eliminate the printed version of the media guide has been ongoing within the Big Ten and NCAA administrative services for some time.

“We understand there is a need for a stronger commitment to new media,” Martin added. “Our alumni and fans want more timely information.”

Both Martin and Smith also noted it is important to make changes that will not affect the athletic and academic well-being of the school’s student-athletes.

“With Ohio State and Michigan together making this statement, I hope our decision will be a catalyst for other schools to follow suit,” Gene Smith, Ohio State Director of Athletics, said.  “All athletic programs are in the midst of cost containment discussions, but our decision is not only based on economics, the structure of media consumption has changed rapidly and we need to meet the challenges head on.

“New initiatives will have to be developed to allow media, recruits, alumni and fans to follow our teams,” Smith said.  “Social networking already plays a role in our communication plan and new platforms will continue to develop.”

The elimination of printed media guides will take place immediately and effectively will result in a total cost reduction of more than $250,000 per year.