KU becomes pioneer in using virtual reality to enhance football program


I just received a news release from KU that forced me to do a double-take. Turns out what I thought I read the first time actually was true.

KU has become the first NCAA program to incorporate virtual-reality training into its regular routine of preparing its student-athletes for competition.

The full release is posted below. It sounds to me like this is a potentially very cool development and certainly keeps KU on the cutting edge and at the forefront of college athletics when it comes to training practices and facilities.

Here's the release:

Kansas Athletics became the first NCAA institution to partner with EON Reality, the world's leading interactive 3D software provider, in the creation of software to eventually be used in a virtual reality football simulator. The simulator utilizes EON Reality’s popular Icube and will enable student-athletes to simulate an actual game for training and teaching purposes.

“This state-of-the-art training will greatly benefit our student-athletes and makes Kansas a leader of virtual reality in sport,” Kansas Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger said. “We constantly seek responsible and innovative ways to help our student-athletes and this cutting-edge technology brings a great opportunity to our football team.”

Once the software is fully developed, student-athletes will be able to step into a 10 feet by 10 feet room and be immersed into simulated-game action. The experience makes the user feel as if they are standing on an actual playing field, complete with crowd noise, realistic game speeds and football player avatars running real plays.

The student-athlete will be able to experience game action of any play desired. The virtual reality football simulator is at the forefront of a growing trend of applications using virtual and augmented reality within the sports industry.

“At the elite level, everyone is pretty much the same when it comes to size, speed and strength,” said Brendan Reilly, Co-Founder of EON Reality Sports. “What separates an average team from a great team is how they perform from a cognitive standpoint – reading plays, understanding coverages, reducing mistakes and making quick decisions, etc.

“The teams that do these seemingly little things right usually wind up winning. Virtual Reality has been proven to dramatically increase a user’s experience level. The end goal is to speed up the experience level of an athlete and essentially have freshmen operating at the same cognitive level as a senior.”


Ron Prichard 8 years, 9 months ago

That is AWESOME!!

In all seriousness, this could be a major recruiting tool for KU. Hopefully they are able to implement it quickly and use it before too many other schools do the same thing.

I have to say, I love the direction our athletic department is headed under Dr. Z. Keep it up!!

rtwngr 8 years, 9 months ago

Bees! There everywhere! They're all over me! Oh God, there's so many of them!

Bobby Burch 8 years, 9 months ago

Haha that would have done a double take too! That's pretty neat-o. Hope it translates into better football IQ for our players.

ahpersecoachingexperience 8 years, 9 months ago

Not mentioned: The 10x10 room has an indoor track which serves no purpose!

squawkhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Ugh, I think that stench was the rotting smell of what was left of the KU football team after KSU ripped them to shreds, again!

This virtual reality thing is about the only thing this football team will be able to win at again in 2013. Weis SUX and is setting the program further back by recruiting 19 juco players. This is the same thing everyone rightfully criticized Ron Prince for when he was at KSU. And look what happened to them. Weis is proving that all he cares about is making is millions and then jetting out of town as soon as his contract is up, or sooner. Mark my words.

Randy Bombardier 8 years, 9 months ago

Can't hurt. Seems like it could slow the game down until the players get better at their reads. Should result in better decision-making on the field. Hope so.

Patricia Davis 8 years, 9 months ago

I dunno. Maybe we should just have a virtual football team.

gorilla10 8 years, 9 months ago

We have something that nobody else has! Not talking about the track around the field either!

dtownhawkfan 8 years, 9 months ago

Hopefully its starts on "Easy" for confidence purposes, I would hate to have blown assignments in virtual reality from the get go.

Seth Nesmith 8 years, 9 months ago

Please tell me this comes with tackling dummies and sleds with Lew Perkin's image on them.

Paul Richardson 8 years, 9 months ago

I'm cool with it a long as we don't start losing to the simulation.

Kent Richardson 8 years, 9 months ago

A lot of the benefit will be immediate but only if the coaching staff will understand an embrace it. If you are a coach who is resistant to change it will not be as successful. In (virtual) reality the interactions will have to still be monitored and coached. The time savings can be enormous but we will need about 10 of the simulators to take full advantage because scheduling issues and NCAA practice restrictions. I can envision a bad ass linebacker or safety bursting out of the cage. New nerdy coaching positions available.

Dale Sprague 8 years, 9 months ago

Interesting! Any idea what the cost is??

Reuben_J_Cogburn 8 years, 9 months ago


Any bets on what our record will be against the simulation?

KGphoto 8 years, 9 months ago

This sounds great!

Hey, not that we need it, but can we simulate basketball too?

Jeff Coffman 8 years, 9 months ago

I can only imagine what some of the boards are saying about KU football and reality.

I really hope this is a good thing.

NebraskaJayhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Is there shock treatment if the player messes up? What are the consequences of failing at the virtual world? I don't think you can simulate a 235 lb. linebacker steamrolling the QB if he fails to make a proper read or makes a bad "tuck & run" decision.

Not sure if I were a coach if I would buy into this. Maybe it's a good thing I'm just an armchair coach. ;)

qringer 8 years, 9 months ago

Freeking ridiculous. I hope this is not the "secret weapon" to rebuild the program. Grasping at straws here.

Jackster 8 years, 9 months ago

This is absolutely nuts!!!. In lieu of this investment, why not fly the KU coaching staff down to Alabama and meet with Coach Saban and his staff for a few hours to see how it is really done. I'm sure Saban would not feel threatened by giving us a tour of the facilities...virtual and all.....and he may provide a few tips to make us competitive in the Big 12 at the very least. Is this an early April Fool's joke? If so, you got me.

squawkhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Silly boy, don't you know that the only April Fools joke around here is Charlie Weis.

VailHawk 8 years, 9 months ago

27 comments w no mention of turner gill?

Adam Collins 8 years, 9 months ago

If they're selling tickets, I would definitely buy one to play some Madden in this thing.

squawkhawk 8 years, 9 months ago

Great! Maybe KU will have a few virtual wins this year. LOL

qringer 8 years, 9 months ago

Sweet!!!!!!!! That was just like I was playing the Mike and Adrian fricken Peterson was coming up the A gap. SCARY

John Randall 8 years, 9 months ago

That video qualifies as a very poor joke told with lousy timing.

CrystalJones 8 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, well whoopee. We're pioneers. I'll bet those losers Bill Snyder and Bob Stoops wish they had all this high-falutin' technology. I'm sure they're envious.

Sounds like we're doing everything to improve our football program except learning how to:

Hit. Block. Tackle. Kick. Pass. Run. Beat Someone. Anyone.

But let's make sure we're on the cutting edge of technology. That's certainly the most important thing.

John Randall 8 years, 9 months ago

As long as KU gets the free introductory rate, I have no problem. That 10x10' room could be really effective punishment for miscreants – 3 min for lining up wrong, 5 min for missed coverage, etc.

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