College football programs have used sideline spotters for years…during practice.
For years, college football head coaches have enlisted graduate assistants, support staff, injured players, campus police, and others to watch for infiltrators. Watching for fans sneaking a peak through a hole in the fence, students taking photos of practice from a dorm window, or anyone else doing anything to see or hear anything at anytime anywhere on the practice field.
In Nick Saban’s early years at Alabama, he requested campus police to patrol soft spots in the fencing. After building new practice fields in full view of parking garages and apartment buildings, Kansas spent $100,000 on privacy trees (which, hysterically, only obstructed the view of pedestrians, not those atop the garages and buildings). In the 1980s, North Carolina sent injured players into the law library, whose windows overlooked the practice fields, to watch for spies.
While the paranoia itself isn’t surprising for notoriously paranoid coaches, the arms race of secrecy can be amusing. And Oklahoma’s latest attempt at secrecy is both unsurprising and amusing: