Ask the AD - February Edition



    Feb. 29, 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

    Would it ever be possible that SIU would schedule a home game against a FBS opponent ?

    While not impossible, I would say this is highly improbable. FBS schools just don't have to travel to an FCS opponent. It might be possible to enter into a two for one agreement with a Mid-American Conference or Sun Belt Conference school, however those schools appear more interested in playing FBS money games on the road, where they can earn upward of $1 million. They would prefer to take a huge payday versus saving some money with two home games and having to go on the road to an FCS opponent. We are finding it very difficult to even schedule a regional FCS team for a home-and-home in the years that a 12th game is permitted.

    Why are we continually recruiting JUCO players in men's basketball and do you feel that is a good way to build a program?

    When you are dealing with the departures and transfers of student-athletes, there becomes a need to re-balance the classes, and one way to do that is by bringing in junior college players. As an example, if you had an original class of four freshmen and after their sophomore year, two depart from the program for whatever reason, you could recruit two additional junior college players so that their graduating class remains at four. Junior college players also help a coach supplement the roster in an area of need.

    I have a unique perspective on this method of building a program, since I came from a junior college background in the sport of baseball. Ultimately, I think you need a steady flow of fourth and fifth-year players to be successful at our level in the sport of men's basketball. Junior college players and transfers can make huge impacts, such as Mamadou Seck and Rolan Roberts have for the Salukis, but many times it seems it takes one semester of Division I basketball to get used to the speed of the game and transition fully to this level of basketball.

    How much of a financial commitment would it take to schedule a game at Soldier Field?

    That is a good question and one we haven't asked. We had talks last summer with a promoter in Bridgeport, Ill. regarding the possibility of playing our road game versus Illinois State at Toyota Park, which is where the Chicago Fire play their MLS games. ISU had targeted that game for Homecoming, so we were unable to proceed. With the City of Carbondale investing $20 million into our facilities via Saluki Way, we would not want to move a home game, but if we could move a road game to Chicago we would be extremely interested in that in future seasons.

    Would SIU consider adding another way for SASF members to earn points? Specifically, would you consider consecutive years purchasing all-session tickets to the men's and or women's MVC basketball tournaments?

    We would certainly consider this. Most of the ways one can currently accrue points benefits the athletic program, while the purchase of MVC tickets is financially supporting the Missouri Valley Conference. I'd like to see points added for the purchase of our Paw passes (a mini-season ticket for volleyball, softball and women's basketball) but certainly would consider your suggestion regarding the men's and women's basketball tournaments. I have asked both Casey Hale, our Assistant AD for Development, and Chet Savage, our Deputy AD, to run the numbers and give me a recommendation on this topic.

    Who poses the questions to Coaches Lennon and Lowery for pre-game and post-game assessments? They seem to lack depth and fail to address areas that are, in my opinion, critical issues.

    For both the sports you mention we hold regular media availabilities where anyone with a media credential (radio, print and TV) can ask any question they would like. Post-game, both team's coaches hold a press conference along with selected players, and members of the media can also ask whatever question they would like, plus follow-up questions if they need a coach to clarify his remarks. There are other avenues for questions as well. Tom Weber, our Assistant AD for Media Services, writes a blog during the season and comes up with the questions for that medium. Fans also have the opportunity to ask questions each week via the radio shows Lennon Live and Lowery Live from Buffalo Wild Wings, either in person, by calling into the show or e-mailing during the show.