March 31, 2008
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.
I play for the collegiate roller hockey team for SIU. I know that we are a club team, but I don't understand why we are the only school in our division to not have a rink to practice on? Also, why are we not allowed to use the Saluki name or logo on our jerseys?
I must confess I am not up to speed on the facilities of club roller hockey teams that our University competes against. I can tell you that none of the facilities we operate under the jurisdiction of Intercollegiate Atheltics would be able to support this. Perhaps the Carbondale Sportsblast would be an option? I spoke with our Assistant AD for Marketing and Promotions, Mark Gazdik, who is also our director of licensing, and he indicated to me that a club team can use the athletic name or marks on their jerseys with the following conditions:
1. If there are sponsors on the jerseys, they must be athletic approved sponsors to use in conjunction with the marks.
2. The club team must use the term "club" and the name of the sport with the marks.
3. If they are selling the item, it needs to be registered with the Collegiate Licensing Company, which we would do for the Club team.
In the short time you have been at SIU, I would like to compliment you on your accomplishments. Please tell me that you plan to stay there for quite some time?
Thanks for the compliment. As I told several people, I don't have a timetable on my stay with the Salukis. I would love to stay as long as I am allowed and hope that the Chancellor, when named, would think that athletics is moving in the right direction. My contract continues for another 2 years and 4 months. I have always been someone who doesn't look too far ahead of what might be out there, and I am much more of a goal-oriented person. My main reason for seeking this position was because I was getting stagnant in my old position (I was there for eight years), so as long as there are new challenges, I am very happy working on those. I would really like to personally see the finished product of Saluki Way, which means I will be here for a while. My wife, Heidi, likes the area and has made friends, so that is an important part of it as well.
I had read a month or so ago that the UnderArmour deal was to be announced soon but never saw a release on the contract details. Has that contract been finalized?
Not yet. I have been working with Shannon Ferbrache, the UA Director of Sports Marketing, and we have agreed on the principal elements of the agreement. We need to have both our lawyers agree on all the fine print (such as insurance, etc.). Since most of these national firms are outside Illinois, it is always a chore to get their home state, in this instance Maryland and ours, Illinois, to match up on state law items. Short answer is that it should be finalized and announced soon -- I hope in the month of April.
Have there been discussions about improvements to Abe Martin Field?
There certainly has, and we thought that we had a big donor for some needed projects, but it fell through temporarily (we hope). The issue with Abe Martin is that with Saluki Way being a main focus and most every dollar generated needing to go to that project to ensure its completion, there isn't too much ancillary funding for our baseball facility. If we can identify someone who has an affinity for just baseball, then we will certainly look to make some improvements. We already have in mind what we would like to do.
Would the MVC consider adding teams to the conference, such as Western Kentucky?
Well, this needs to come from the conference office, but the only way they would add a member to the MVC would be to add two teams, so we can have even scheduling from 10 to 12 teams. The problem with Western Kentucky is that they play in the Sun Belt Conference and just made the jump to the FBS in football, so they don't seem to be an option for us. We are in a unique position without football as a conference sport. We need to look at individual schools who have strong basketball programs (to satisfy the basketball-only playing members of the MVC). To make a long story short, adding a conference member would be tough, since there are so many schools that require so many different criteria for membership. At the end of the day, it would take more than a majority vote, but perhaps instead a "constitutional vote" which means eight out of 10 members voting affirmative to add a school.
When will we actually see construction being done on the new stadium and remodeled arena?
I am hopeful that this summer the softball fields and perhaps some of the tennis courts will be moved to accommodate the new football stadium. The fields will be rebuilt, so when the students return to classes in the fall, there won't be an interruption in programming. That will be the first thing that people will see. Once that is completed, I believe you will see movement on the site for the new football stadium this fall, depending on the completion of the archetictural drawings and the bid selections for the general contractor.
During the four home football games I went to this year, I noticed they rarely gave scores of other games, something they always used to do. Also, why doesn't the marching band turn around and play toward the East side of the stadium once in a while?
I am not sure why this took place, but we can surely increase our frequency of letting the fans know of other Gateway and geographically related scores. When we have a scoreboard with message capability, this will allow us to show all the other scores in the country without having to wait for a break in the action when we have to mention paid sponsorship announcement or internal promotional items. As for the band playing to the East side of the stadium, I have discussed this with Andrew Tucker and he indicated that we could begin to do this with more frequency. I am sure he will try to work out something for the East side folks, who we defintely want to include in the game day/Marching Saluki pageantry.