Ask the AD - March Edition

    Mario Moccia

    Mario Moccia

    April 1, 2013

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - 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

    How is NCAA Tournament revenue distributed, and does Creighton forfeit its share?

    The NCAA tournament revenue share is calculated in terms of "units" or games played by an institution. This year a unit is worth $254,000 and our league has already earned seven units (Wichita State five, Creighton two) in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, worth approximately $1.78 million per year for six years ($10.67 million spread out over six years). If WSU's incredible run continues and they advance to the National Championship game, the league will earn one more unit. Creighton's two shares they earned for the MVC this year will stay with the MVC for the six years that our revenue distribution is calculated.

    With Creighton leaving the MVC, can you explain the criteria and the process for finding a replacement?

    The final decision-makers in determining the membership of the MVC are the campus CEOs, including SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng. Conference commissioner Doug Elgin will assist the campus CEOs with information and guidance. There are many factors that will go into this decision, but the most important one is a school's competitive strength in men's basketball. The MVC would also like to add an additional men's tennis team to maintain the NCAA minimum team status and also add an additional baseball school to get back to nine members.

    In my opinion, the three options are to stay at nine schools, add one school, or add three schools to go to 12. Nine schools makes men's basketball scheduling difficult and doesn't address the men's tennis or baseball issues. Adding three schools to get to a total of 12 remains a possibility, but it may be difficult to find three schools with basketball programs that have the ability to make the NCAA Tournament. Adding one school and staying at 10 makes the most sense to me. Other than the ability to earn NCAA units, I feel a University's geography will be a big factor. All the teams will have to travel to and from the new school for every sport, which can add strain to a department's budget. The current balance of public versus private schools is also a consideration. As you can see, many factors will be considered by our nine campus CEO's, and I am confident that with Doug Elgin's counsel, they will move aggressively and make the best decision for our current members.

    With the Abe Martin project getting underway after the 2013 season, our facilities appear to an outsider to be in pretty good shape. What improvements, if any, might be made next in terms of facilities?

    We plan on beginning the baseball renovation project immediately after the season, so we will see how much we can afford to do with the money we raise by the deadline. For example, if we can't afford lights now, we need to make sure that is on the to-do list. Our softball stadium is one of the best in the Midwest, the Lew Hartzog track & field complex is brand new, Saluki Stadium and SIU Arena are great, and our golf courses are very good to us. We really could use an indoor practice facility for our teams to use during bad weather that we own outright, and it would provide our men's and women's tennis teams a home for their indoor season. Currently, they are utilizing the Sportsblast in Carbondale, and we are renting that facility for more than $100,000 per year. We appreciate our partnership with the Sportsblast, but I'd prefer that we invest in our own facility. A rough estimate on an indoor facility to meet our needs would be in the range of $5 or $6 million. We also have some smaller needs, such as hydrotherapy (whirlpools), where two units would cost us about $80,000 total. Other than that, we have pretty much covered all the bases.

    What is SIU going to do to ensure the Women's Basketball program has a seasoned coach with experience building a proven winner quickly for the short term and consistently for the long term?

    During the search for a new women's basketball head coach, we have put together a committee of individuals committed to securing a seasoned coach who gives us the best chance for our program to succeed. Kathy Jones our Senior Associate AD is overseeing the search, along with Harold Bardo (Faculty Athletic Rep), Vicky King (community member), Tiffany Spencer (SIU Registrar and former Saluki women's basketball player), Justin Ingram (Saluki Volleyball Head Coach) and Mark Scally (Executive Associate AD). Some of the attributes our search committee is looking for include a Midwest background with recruiting ties to Illinois, some Division I head coaching experience, as well as success on the Division I level, among many others. We looked at several hundred biographies and more than 100 applicants, so maximum effort was applied to finding the right coach to get our program on the winning track. Former Saluki Women's basketball coach, Cindy Scott, as well as Missouri State University Hall of Fame coach Cheryl Burnett have been a tremendous help to me in offering their opinions of our candidates. We should be announcing a new head coach prior to the Final Four.