Feb. 28, 2010
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.
With the "Surf Turf" at Boise State and talk of Eastern Washington installing a red turf to their new football stadium, has there been any discussion about SIU installing a multi-colored turf our new football stadium?
We have never considered going to a Maroon turf at the new football stadium, but did look at some different turf options before deciding on a traditional green turf (one of the versions we didn't select had alternating lighter and darker shades of green every five yards). We did decide to make the end zones Maroon, which I think will add some color and pop to the new field.
Why was a women's basketball game scheduled on the same day as Super Bowl Sunday?
I asked Missouri Valley Conference Senior Associate Commissioner Patty Viverito this question, and she responded that all conference women's games were scheduled by the league on Friday and Super Bowl Sunday that weekend. The deciding factors were television schedules and facility conflicts.
Can you give us a timeframe on when the new track will be built, and is it to be built directly east of Abe Martin Field?
As of right now, the track is going to stay in its current location. If the University at some point would like to see the track moved in order to utilize that valuable piece of real estate, the original Saluki Way plan called for the track to be relocated somewhere next to Abe Martin Field. I think ultimately this would be good for everyone. There would be an added cost, of course, but with construction workers currently on site, this would be an ideal time to do it to maximize cost savings.
I have watched SIU games (and other MVC games) on Fox Sports High Def channel (with a high-def flat panel TV) and the quality does not compare to the Big Ten Network. Are there any plans to improve the Valley productions so the broadcasts are truly high-def?
I consulted with associate commissioners Mike Kern and Jack Watkins of the Missouri Valley Conference on this, and they are both big proponents of HD, but it is costly. The going rate would be an additional $4,500 per broadcast. If the MVC upgraded to HD on all of the league telecasts, it would have to cut back on the number of telecasts by one-third to stay within its budget. The Mountain West Conference televises all regular-season games in standard def and the men's tourney in HD, and this may be a model we consider in the future.
Can you comment as to why you think recruited players are choosing to leave the program early rather than play their full career at SIU?
Student-athletes choose to leave prior to their eligibility being exhausted for several reasons. In my short tenure, I have heard everything from homesickness, not fitting in with the team/coach, injury, lack of playing time, girlfriend/boyfriend issues, illness with a relative, and several others. At the end of the day we (coaches and administrators) have a great desire to retain our student-athletes through their matriculation from freshmen through graduation, just as the University does with the general student body. I believe retention makes a team stronger and a gives you an opportunity to have upperclassmen and women in the program on a consistent basis, which in turn gives you the one of the best opportunities to be successful.
Can you elaborate on how SIU was chosen to host ESPN College Gameday? Was SIU approached first, or did SIU or the MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin approach ESPN or State Farm?
State Farm, in consultation with ESPN, made the original call to MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin in the summer of 2007, inquiring about bringing ESPN's College GameDay to Carbondale for the Creighton game the upcoming season. Doug tells me that the atmosphere in SIU Arena and the intensity of the SIU-CU rivalry were the main selling points.
What is the rationale for scheduling Chicago State in men's basketball and are you concerned about their traditionally low RPI?
We are aware of their RPI, but we are eager to have a game in the Chicago area. Next year, we are fortunate to be playing in a non-conference tournament in Chicago in November, but I would like to establish a game in the Chicago area each year, since we have our largest pocket of alumni (35,000+) there. Our options seem to be Loyola-Chicago, UIC, Northwestern and DePaul. As in the past, we can't get the two BCS schools to return the game to Carbondale. We have also been unable to negotiate a working date with UIC and Loyola, so we are glad to get a contract with Chicago State. It is important to then schedule a high RPI team to offset this particular game. With Purdue in the non-conference tournament next year, we are very hopeful of playing them. They are currently No. 7 in the RPI, and we expect them to be strong again next year. In addition, we are looking at regionalizing the schedules of all of our teams in an effort to save as much money as possible. Chicago State is a trip we can take by bus or train and is a huge cost savings versus a flight.
What is the date of the spring football game and what festivities are planned? Will it be played at McAndrew Stadium?
The spring football game will be played on Saturday, April 17, at McAndrew Stadium, and is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. We are planning on having another great Spring Game event, but are still in the early stages of planning. We will be sitting down in the next few days to map out all the plans that our marketing department has come up with and will announce the full slate of activities on www.siusalukis.com very soon, so be on the lookout for it.