Ask the AD - February Edition

    Mario Moccia

    Mario Moccia

    Feb. 28, 2013

    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

    There has been talk about SIU and SEMO playing their football game in St Louis this year, and specifically rumored to be at Busch Stadium. The schedule still says location TBD. Is there any truth to this?

    Both institutions are currently negotiating with the St. Louis Cardinals to host our Sept. 21 game in Busch Stadium. While several issues still need to be resolved, both Universities believe this is a very unique opportunity to showcase their school and football program, and we should have a final decision of playing the game in Busch Stadium or at Cape Girardeau very soon.

    Coach Hinson has been openly critical of this season's pre-conference schedule with so many away games and weaker opponents. Is it in the plans to change that next year?

    Yes he has, and I believe he makes some good points. With that said, we need to make sure our schedule positions our team for success. When you have a top-three projected team, I believe you should schedule differently than a projected bottom-three team. As for next year, we have two BracketBusters return games on the slate with Ball State (home) and Miami University (road) and contracted games with Western Kentucky, SIUE and Saint Louis at home, as well as two exhibition games. We have yet to schedule a Multiple Team Event (MTE) and are discussing these possibilities with the MVC, plus a series or two that we might schedule beginning on the road. We will also play at least one guarantee game with a BCS program. I believe there has been and will continue to be a well-conceived plan on men's basketball scheduling.

    Why do we not allow the students to sit at court level around the entire SIU Arena, or at least behind the benches where television cameras are focused for the majority of the game? When I see many other collegiate games, the television cameras catch the excitement and frenzy of the student body.

    Universities seat students at many different locations around arenas, and we found this out when we were studying the renovation and the reseating of the arena. We consulted the leadership of the Dawg Pound and USG regarding student seating. We also took into consideration that all of our MVC counterparts seat students on the baselines. The important issue at the time of the reseating was that the students wanted the entire floor to sit in, not just half of it, so we actually relocated season ticket holders who had baseline seating to other areas around the arena. One of the realities of renovating the arena, which cost $29.9 million, is the need for that arena to generate revenue. Courtside seating is seen by donors and alumni as premium seats, so we try to balance seating where everyone is happy, feels they have a good location and are a big part of the game. With students having the ability to affect the outcome of the game down the stretch by disturbing free throws and also right by our team bench to encourage our players and coaches, I believe most of our fans are happy with their locations including our student population. It's worth noting that we are averaging about 500 students per game, despite having a quarter of our home schedule during winter break when student numbers are traditionally lower.

    Recently, I downloaded the SIU sports app for the iPhone. I certainly enjoy the features and opportunity to follow the Saluki sports as I don't live in the Carbondale area. Are there any plans to expand that to the iPad and include other technologies such as live game viewing?

    As of now, an iPad app is not in the plans due to the financial commitment it would require. On the other hand, Saluki All-Access is a great resource on SIUsalukis.com. We broadcast many games and press conferences in both audio and video formats.

    I turned on my TV set to watch a Saluki basketball game recently and saw the team wearing black uniforms and pink shoes. At first, I thought I had the wrong channel. When did the school colors change?

    SIU's school colors are still Maroon and White and we have both home and road uniforms of those colors. When we signed our all-school deal with Under Armour, which provided a big financial windfall for the department in the form of a huge cost savings, part of the contract stipulated they would supply us with more than the standard team color uniforms. Black and gray uniforms have been used this season, and in the future, cammo might be an option as well. This is all done to assist Under Armour's marketing efforts to sell product. In addition, nothing is ever produced without an eye toward recruiting, and I assure you everything has been tested on the youth market before it makes its way into production. While traditional colors are not worn as often as they used to be, I can promise you the majority of our games we will wear our school colors. Now about the shoes. Under Armour sent us pink shoes for Cancer awareness week (Feb. 4-10). After we beat #22 ranked Wichita State wearing the pink shoes, the team and Coach Hinson, who claims he isn't very superstitious, decided to continue to wear them, since they brought us good luck. To date, we are 5-2 wearing the pink shoes, so we shall see if this trend continues.