April 1, 2014
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.
Could the Saluki Stadium seating be expanded at some point in the future to accommodate a move up to FBS?
Yes, our stadium is modeled after the University of Central Florida, where a second deck could be added around the horseshoe and raise the stadium capacity to a maximum of roughly 45,000.
Do you foresee any change to the University policy that prohibits selling alcohol at Saluki games?
This is a possibility down the road. There are obvious implications of selling alcohol at intercollegiate athletic events that can be polarizing topics, from overall family experience to the increase in revenue that it could bring. We have done our homework on this and know each and every Division I school that permits the selling of alcohol at their games. We do allow the sale of alcohol in our basketball and football clubs, which are private lease areas, and alcohol is permitted on The Hill at Itchy Jones Stadium, which is a tradition that has been grandfathered.
Otherwise, the ability to sell alcohol would take some legislative action from Springfield, similar to what the University of Illinois received a few years ago. It could take the form of all the public Illinois schools (WIU, EIU, Illinois State, SIU, etc.) joining together in a unified request on the possible sale of alcohol in the public areas of intercollegiate athletic venues.
Can't you add a covered escalator to the outside of SIU Arena, like they have at Busch Stadium? Climbing up that giant staircase for each basketball game is wearing me out.
Unfortunately, an escalator would be extremely expensive and not realistic from a budget standpoint. Our Associate AD for Facilities, Andy Pettit recommends using our South lower-level entrance (old main lobby). This entry has an elevator just inside the doors that delivers guests to the concourse level. Also, there is a sloped sidewalk that leads to the West arena lobby to the left of the South entrance. While it is still an incline, it may not be as daunting as the stairs.
Rather than complain, I wanted to email to say that your concessions at men's basketball games were much better this year than in the past. Please share my appreciation with those responsible for the improvement.
Thank you for the compliment. In past years, Chartwell's oversaw our concessions operations and we were never completely happy with the arrangement. When Chartwell's didn't bid on the University business as a whole, it allowed us the opportunity to take our concessions in house. Not only have I received a massive amount of compliments, it has also become a healthy profit center for us and allowed us to expand and try different food items and produce souvenir cups, etc. Please send us your suggestions for new food items that you'd like to see at our events. Keep your eyes out for future concessions specials and possibly some specialty items at our stands.
I am a four-seat season-ticket holder who lives in Florida, and the video stream of the basketball games this year was terrible at times. What steps are you taking to improve it?
I wish I could tell you this is the first time I have heard this but it isn't. We are aware of the quality issues and have yet to isolate the problem. We do not think it is an equipment issue, as we have heavily invested in our infrastructure. There is some concern that the amount of bandwidth available to the arena on a game day is insufficient for the high number of users. We have a new video coordinator and IT staff in our department and I have asked them to research the problem and give recommendations.