June 30, 2011
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.
Will WSIU be televising any of the Football road games this season?
Saluki Sports Properties and WSIU are in negotiations on how many football games they will carry and which will be home and away. Road games are often dependent on negotiating a split feed with the host school. We are also waiting on the MVFC's broadcast schedule before WSIU can officially select the games that they would like to broadcast. I would anticipate this being completed by the end of July.
The women's basketball program has the 36th-rated recruiting class in the nation coming in, yet two assistant coaches have left. What do you say to those players who may have built relationships with those coaches, and what is the plan going forward?
Not only did we lose two assistant coaches, we also lost our very popular graduate assistant, Nicole Woods, who got her first full time job in the business with Stetson University. In addition, Bett Shelby accepted a position at Seton Hall of the Big East Conference, so kudos to Missy and her "coaching tree." I would tell the student -athletes that we are committed to getting coaches who will help the team and the individual reach our goals and potential. With Adrianne Harlow returning, the women's basketball team will still have continuity with our associate head coach.
What is your position on the practice of "gray-shirting" a player? Has SIU ever gray-shirted any players?
I asked Coach Lennon, and he told me that gray-shirting is a term that has been used in several ways. One way the term is used is to define an incoming freshman who comes out early and enrolls in college the spring semester of his senior year of high school. The primary definition of gray-shirting, however, is when an incoming recruit is responsible for his fall semester and then is picked up on scholarship for the following spring semester. There is only a verbal guarantee of a scholarship, so it's very risky for the student-athlete. Schools do it to delay a recruit's enrollment, so they don't have to count him that current year and can avoid over-scholarshipping. When the recruit enrolls full-time in the spring, he counts toward the next year's limit instead. And by not enrolling full-time in that first fall, the recruit's five-year clock doesn't start right away, so his eligibility lasts longer and he doesn't use a redshirt. The bottom line for Southern Illinois is that we do not gray-shirt players.
Please clue us in on what considerations go into the selection process for hosting an MVC championship event? How does a school go about trying to secure host responsibilities?
The selection process is somewhat different for each sport and is often dependent on the availability and suitability of facilities. For example, our baseball stadium is unfortunately not up to the proper standards to host the tournament. However, with women's swimming, we host EVERY year, as we have the only natatorium that can accommodate the tournament. The track and field championships are selected on a rotational basis. So that leaves golf, tennis, volleyball and softball that SIU would have the ability to enter bids.Two years ago, we hosted the men's golf championships at Dalhousie Country Club in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and we should look at putting in a bid for women's golf in the near future. We just hosted the men's and women's tennis tournament in St. Louis, because our facilities in Carbondale are not adequate from a hosting standpoint. We have some reservations about hosting the volleyball championships, both in terms of our facility and the fact it is over the Thanksgiving holiday, which would put a big burden on our staff. Finally, we have just put in a bid for softball, but the tournament falls during graduation weekend and we have been feverishly working with the hoteliers in Carbondale, Marion and Mt. Vernon to see if we can secure the necessary rooms during a peak time of business for local hotels. A vote will take place in the next few months on the location of the MVC softball tournament.
MVC championship events are determined by a vote of athletic administrators at the annual spring meetings. Schools present their proposals, and important factors include geography, financial bids, hotel rooms, adequate dining facilities, past hosting performance and other compelling factors, such as a brand-new facility, are taken into consideration.
I will be a freshman next year at SIU and was wondering what types of jobs are available to students who want to work in the athletic department?
We employ more than 200 students, who earn more than $300,000 in student wages on an annual basis. We rely heavily on student support in virtually every area of our department, such as event staff, ticket office, equipment rooms, media services, training rooms, team managers, tutors, custodial, video and office support. Andy Pettit, Director of Facilities and Game Operations, would be happy to assist you in applying to your area of interest. For information, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
Realistically, how many wins are you expecting from this year's men's basketball team and how will that affect any future decisions you make about the program?
Wins and losses on the floor/field/court/pool/etc. is a huge point of evaluation in all of our sports. I believe that publicly stating a specific number of wins, while great water cooler conversation, isn't prudent from the Athletic Director's chair. In men's basketball, however, I will certainly evaluate how competitive we are in non-conference and conference play. Our schedule was designed to prepare our many freshmen and newcomers for success, and I'd like to see us go into conference play with a winning record and have an upper division finish in conference play, with momentum heading into the MVC Tournament.