Ask the AD -- August Edition

    Aug. 27, 2010

    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

    Will fans be able to sit on the berm in the new Saluki Stadium on a game by game basis? If not, I think SIU will be missing out on a huge chance to attract families, and others who use Saluki football as a social event, and may not want to just sit on the metal bleachers. You saw first hand how popular the berm seats are at Faurot Field.

    The berm at Saluki Stadium will be used for overflow student seating primarily. With the students paying half of the money for Saluki Way, we want to do everything we can to guarantee access to any student at any time. We will hold 3,300 student seats in the stadium bowl, and this should accommodate all but our largest student turnout. In the history of McAndrew, we had two turnouts of more than 2,900, including 4,400 for the UNI game several years ago. A student turnout of that magnitude would require the entire berm to accommodate. If the students do not exceed their capacity in the bowl and do not take up the entire hill, and all the reserved seats are sold, then we will open the hill and sell to the general public on game day. This is similar to the University of Missouri's policy, in which general admission hill tickets are available only on game day, unless reserved seats sell out in advance. As far as attracting families, we offer a family section in the bowl area that features reduced ticket prices.

    Would it be possible to have an annual behind the scenes day in which Saluki fans could pay for an inside look into our football and or basketball programs? Nebraska has a program like this called Football 202 which includes continental breakfast, lunch and a social event.

    I spoke with our Assistant AD for Marketing and Promotions, Mark Gazdik and he let me know we have several VIP Experience packages as auction items on our website The package includes four tickets to the game, a tour of Saluki stadium prior to the game, four pre-game sideline passes, an autographed game program by Coach Lennon, video board recognition, along with four hot dogs and four drinks. I'll ask him to look into expanding this to potential meal opportunities for future consideration.

    Some of the conceptual drawings show a pillar similar to the Washington Monument near the parking lot and arena main entrance. Will there be a pillar?

    The "pillar" that was show in several of the renderings was an obelisk, and it was drawn by an architect as a placeholder until we determined what would look best in that area. We came to the decision that a life-size bronze Saluki Dog would be most appropriate and be the ultimate centerpiece of the Saluki sports park. This bronze Saluki will be a great opening shot for television as well as a great photo-op for fans after games or following graduation ceremonies.

    I wonder if a DVD might be produced that would cover Saluki sports history? I have mentioned this to Mike Reis, who preliminarily thought it was a good idea. This DVD could be shown at Alumni Association chapter and club meetings and events and other outings to increase interest in our tradition and successes.

    With the addition of the video boards in Saluki Stadium as well as the renovated SIU Arena, we have hired a Director of Video Services, Chris Hagstrom. He has done a phenomenal job so far but will be swamped since he is starting the program from scratch. I think this is certainly an idea that he can spearhead when we all get our feet on the ground, but as of this moment we are at the stage of walking before we run. It certainly is an idea worth exploring and we will do so.

    Will the time span for tailgating before a game be expanded this season? I know many places have at least four hours before kickoff, and some start two days before a game.

    The time span for tailgating this year will be the same as last year. The current tailgate hours were determined after a review of what the other schools in our conference were doing. I spoke with Todd Sigler, Director of the Department of Public Safety at SIU, and we are both open to reviewing all procedures, including a discussion on expanding the tailgating time frame. We will review our policy after we examine the tailgating and traffic patterns that emerge from the upcoming season.