Collegiate athletes are accustomed to competition. They’re used to competing everyday in practice, in the gym and during games. And when the most integral part of their lives is taken away from them, they adapt.
Now they’re turning to TikTok for competition. The Mid-American Conference noticed, and created a way to keep its athletes connected while also keeping their competitive spirits high. The new TikTok challenge tournament allows each school in the conference to compete, with all 12 MAC universities involved and represented by one of their teams.
Teams submitted TikTok videos and the two teams with the most votes advanced to the conference tournament, where they compete against teams from other MAC universities. The tournament is currently in the 2nd round. This round will determine who makes it to the tournament's semi finals.
The swim and dive and softball teams won UB’s tournament to make it to the MAC level. UB’s swim and dive team lost in the first round, but the softball team advanced to the second round and is currently facing Miami of Ohio’s field hockey team.
Zack McTigue, UB Athletics director of marketing, noticed junior swimmer Sydnie Sovinsky operating the swim and dive team’s Instagram story and contacted her about the social media challenge.
“The whole point of it was to promote social distancing and bring some positivity to the fact that we’re separated from our teammates,” Sovinsky said. “We’re also finding a way to stay together in this tough time.”
Teams across the conference came up with creative and entertaining videos to help put a smile on people’s faces. Teams danced, made jokes and even recreated their own version of hit ‘90s TV show “Full House.”
Nicole Roitenberg, a junior swimmer, said the MAC’s challenge has united MAC athletes even when they can’t physically be with each other.
“TikTok is super big right now so it was a fun idea to kind of keep us all together,” Roitenberg said.
Softball’s freshman outfielder Sara Holland* said that other schools and conferences should follow suit and incorporate social media to connect athletes with each other and their fans.
“Our softball page gained a bunch of followers and it just brings more attention to different sports,” Holland said. “I think fans can connect with them.”
The challenge has proven to be an at-home escape from quarantine and an opportunity for athletes to show their creative sides.
“It was a fun and light-hearted way of bringing us back together and be a little silly,” Sovinksy said. “If you can have a brief moment of laughter, it makes everything a little bit better.”
Here’s an updated bracket of the tournament, follow the tournament via the MAC’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/MACSports
*Sara Holland was previously a staff writer for The Spectrum.
Anthony DeCicco is the assistant sports editor and can be reached at Anthony.DeCicco@ubspectrum.com and @DeCicco42 on Twitter.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor at The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found playing video games, watching ‘90s Knicks games and arguing with people on NBA Twitter at 3 a.m.