Sports | March 14, 2021 6:03 pm

The UNCUT Network Uses “Players’ Tribune” Approach to Cover College Sports — And It’s Growing

Six chapters now, and more on the way

Dana Rettke
Wisconsin Badgers Dana Rettke looks on during the NCAA Division 1 Women's National Championship game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Stanford Cardinal.
Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In 2014, The Players’ Tribune made its debut — a media outlet that let athletes tell their own stories and share both formative moments and struggles with adversity. In the years since then, it’s emerged as the platform of choice for many a professional athlete; in 2019, founder Derek Jeter announced a partnership between the site and Minute Media, intended to be its “next chapter.” But the relative success of The Players’ Tribune is about more than itself — it’s also a kind of proof of concept for the model it’s built on. And a new generation of publications has taken that model to some interesting places.

Among them? UNCUT, an online publication that focuses on college athletics. Sportico’s Emily Caron explored the site’s history and its growth in a new article. UNCUT was founded by two UNC students, Luke Buxton and Alex Mazer, as a nonprofit platform. (It’s also compliant with NCAA regulations.) The first edition of UNCUT debuted in 2019; editions of it are now being run at six different universities, with Miami and UCLA up next.

“It’s powerful to be able to control that whole process and tell the story exactly how the student athlete would want by adding in the details that are most important,” Dana Rettke, the co-founder of UNCUT Madison and the Big Ten’s Athlete of the Year, told Sportico.

One member of UNCUT Madison’s advisory board spoke about the importance of the site in letting athletes “build out a well-rounded brand and personal profile” — something that seems all too relevant to being an athlete at nearly any level of the sport in 2021. And whether you’re a fan of sports, an observer of media trends or curious about technology, there’s something you’ll find intriguing in this particular narrative.

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