Ask the AD -- January Edition

    Jan. 31, 2012

    This is the latest installment of our monthly feature called, "Ask the AD." If you have questions for Saluki Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, feel free to submit them by e-mail.

    E-Mail a question to Mario Moccia

    Are scholarships awarded to student-athletes for multiple years or are they one-year scholarships that have to be renewed each year?

    Since at least the 1980s, the NCAA has required that athletic scholarships be provided for no shorter and no longer than one year. These scholarships are then renewable at the end of each year. Presumably, this rule was put into place to allow coaches and student-athletes more flexibility than the previous four-year scholarships.

    Ironically, just this year the NCAA Board of Directors brought back the concept of four-year scholarships when it passed a new rule allowing multi-year scholarships for all student-athletes effective immediately. The goal is to provide student-athletes with more scholarship security, which obviously increases the onus on coaches to make sure they are recruiting the right kids and ones that fit into their team chemistries. As of right now, the rule is in effect but still making its way through the final phases of the NCAA legislative process. There is still a possibility that the rule will be reworked or suspended, but most likely we will see multi-year scholarships being offered in the very near future.

    What is your opinion of paying athletes a monthly stipend for their general expenses?

    This is a tough question. Certainly, we would like to cover as many expenses as possible for our student-athletes, including their general necessities. While student-athletes are free to hold jobs at any time, the reality is that the demands of their academics and athletics can make that difficult. Further, we can ideally hope that if we are providing an extra stipend to our student-athletes, then that money is not coming from unscrupulous (or even well-meaning) boosters who want to help out with a little something here or there for student-athletes to make their college life a little easier. Such violations of NCAA rules must be avoided at all costs.

    On the flip side, athletic budgets are strapped to the limit across the country. It has been said that less than 15 percent of athletic departments across the country actually turn a profit, so schools at all levels are already dealing with how best to provide their limited resources to student-athletes. Further, campus budgets in general are shrinking and it may be hard to explain why we are providing more for student-athletes when professors and other staff are taking furlough days and have not received raises in quite some time.

    This year, the NCAA Board of Directors passed a new rule allowing for the provision of a $2,000 stipend to student-athletes on full scholarship. This rule was passed to be effective immediately, but enough schools across the country voiced their displeasure over the sudden change that the rule has been suspended until it can be given further consideration. At this point, I would come down on the side of keeping things the way they are for a school of our budget, but I can see why the schools with a $60M to $100M budget would easily vote for the rule change.

    Any chance our football team could schedule a home-and-home series with Southern University of Baton Rouge? They have a loyal travel following and would probably be a boost for Carbondale's economy. Their home game may be played in the Superdome in New Orleans.

    It is possible that a game could be worked out, but with our non-conference schedule, we really attempt to play opponents within a 300 mile radius so we can travel by bus. The trip (according to MapQuest) is 600 miles, which would mean a flight. The cost of a chartered flight in the sport of football is astronomical compared to a bus (almost 10 times more) so while it would be a great experience for our team and a quality and entertaining opponent, we will continue to look regionally in our non-conference scheduling.

    As one of the greatest Salukis to ever play, why hasn't Darren Brooks' number been retired?

    When I arrived at SIU in August 2006, I found that we had no official policy of retiring numbers, so I charged our Hall of Fame committee to come up with a policy. We queried many other institutions to see what their criteria was and debated the issue during our meetings. In 2010, we came up with a policy of our own which states:

    Policy Regarding the Retiring of Jerseys/Uniforms (Established in 2010)

    In the rare instances which warrant the retiring of a jersey or uniform at SIU, the following policy will prevail.

    The performance standards should be superior and at a level above the criteria for induction in the Saluki Hall of Fame. An example of such a standard would be winning an NCAA individual championship. For team sports, a conference MVP or a high draft choice could be considered.

    It is preferred that the athlete graduated from SIU, but a degree is not mandatory. The athlete should have demonstrated exemplary behavior while competing at SIU. The individual must already be a member of the Saluki Hall of Fame to merit consideration.

    Recommendations for selected athletes should be submitted to the HOF committee. The committee in turn will seek input from the current and, if possible, past coach/coaches of the respective sport. A two-thirds vote of the members of the HOF committee is required for approval. The current AD must also approve the recommendation.

    The retirement of the jersey should take place at a selected event to ensure the appropriate fanfare and publicity. It should be noted that the jersey is being retired, but not necessarily the number.

    Policy for commemorating catastrophic incidents (Established in 2010)

    In extenuating circumstances such as a catastrophic incident or a death, a recommendation can be made to the HOF committee for an appropriate means of remembrance. A two-thirds vote of the members of the HOF Committee is required for approval. The current AD must also approve the recommendation.

    So as you can see, this is a policy we recently finalized after looking at some comparable institutions. There is support within the committee to resume the practice of retiring jerseys in the near future, and I agree that Darren Brooks would be someone to strongly consider (as well as Mike Glenn and others). In doing research, I noticed that some institutions have retired many jerseys and some, such as the University of Illinois in football, has only retired two jerseys (Dick Butkus and Red Grange). I believe we are a bit underrepresented in the sport of men's basketball and will be looking to remedy that in the future.