Aug. 29, 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 heard the school was considering changing the school's logo from the dog head to something else. Is this true? The reason I'm asking is I am a SIU alum and a big time SIU BASKETBALL FAN and was getting ready to get a tattoo of the school's logo on my leg. Please let me know if there is going to be a change, or if you think the school is going to stick with the dog head forever?
For now, there are no plans to change the athletic program's primary logo, which is the circle dog head. We are planning to change the Brown and Gray Dog mascot costumes to a more fan friendly animated character, and in the process, use that likeness as the logo for our new Junior Salukis Club. I would doubt that we would use the current logo "forever," so I'd be a little wary of tattooing it on your body. I am pretty confident the word mark "Salukis" will never change, so this might be a safer bet. I'd like to congratulate you as well for asking the most unique question in the now two-plus years of this column. We appreciate the support and make sure you get a good artist.
With the change in radio broadcasting companies, will there still be a portable transmitter used at the away games?
I discussed this with Mike Reis, director of broadcast operations, as well as Will Patterson, general manager of Saluki Sports Properties, and it is still in the discussion phase. The equipment is a little difficult for the broadcasters to manage, and it is hard to know how many fans utilize this service. We will continue to analyze this possibility and also potential revenue components that might exist, which will assist us in our final decision.
Considering the current economic environment, will you need to further revise plans for the Saluki Way projects?The revisions are few and far between, now that the drawings are almost finalized, but we continue to review the design and make decisions such as whether to have brick in location X or whether dry wall in the same location would cost Y. Those are the types of revisions we have been considering. We have several alternates attached to this project, and their inclusion will depend on how the bids come back. For instance we might want a little nicer seat in the arena or another row of seats in the football stadium and have put these as alternates that we will prioritize once the final bids come back. It looks like labor will be in good supply with the economy the way it is, but the cost of steel and other items could increase dramatically and prevent us from taking as many or any alternates. We do need to get the bids out as soon as we can and "lock in" as many prices as we can. We continue to work with our folks at the Physical Plant, who are doing a great job in preparing for this.
It seems to me that the football helmet insignia, attractive as it is up close, is too busy for recognition from a more distant viewing position. Any thoughts of changing it?
This is something that Coach Kill and I discussed last year. Changing the helmet can be a sensitive topic, but we actually had some mock ups made with the SIU and Salukis word mark on the helmet. We never advanced past the discussion phase, however. With the focus on revenue generation and Saluki Way right now, along with having a new football coach, the helmet has been put on the back burner. I am sure it will be discussed soon, perhaps even for next season, with Coach Lennon, myself and some others.
Some time ago, you announced plans for a Saluki Fan Appreciation Committee? Has a committee been selected and what will be the charge of the committee?
The Saluki Fan Advisory Committee has been formed and selected. It is made up of 14 members who are season ticket holders and/or SASF members at various giving levels. Their charge is to provide feedback to the department on a wide variety of issues with an emphasis on improving fan experience. The group was finalized this summer, and they meet monthly. The input so far has been appreciated and helpful.
Will the new contractual arrangement with Learfield affect the PA announcer?
The arrangement has nothing to do with who is selected as our PA announcer. We will continue with Steve Falat, who does an excellent job of not only informing the crowd of events and instructions but also fires up the crowd at key moments, which helps the Salukis win at home.
In your response to the question on fundraising challenges, you mentioned distance from Chicago as problematic. Have you considering trying to arrange
a Saluki Special with Amtrak or bus services on game days from the Chicago to Carbondale?
I think it was a big step in the right direction when Amtrak added a second line from Chicago to Carbondale. We all held our breath when discussions about possible cuts were brought up, and I am glad to see that this is no longer being considered. Our Saluki Sports Properties team has been in discussions with Amtrak about their future and expanded involvement with Saluki Athletics, but to date, there is nothing new to announce. One of the continuing issues we face is that if fans take the train from Chicago to Carbondale, they still need transportation to get around town to the hotel and game and other places. As for bus travel, it is certainly possible. I think a partnership between the Alumni Association and the University Foundation Chicago Region representative, Mary Carroll, (Associate Director for Institutional Advancement) might be a key to get this off the ground.
Why is video of baseball games not a part of "Saluki All-Access"?
At the present time we do not have high speed internet at the press box. The University has not run campus internet out to the baseball stadium, which makes video streaming extremely difficult. The coaches have satellite in the offices, and DSL would be a possible alternative, but those technologies have not proven reliable enough for us to charge fans for the service. We are in the process of ascertaining the cost of running the internet infrastructure to the baseball stadium, and that will assist us in making a decision to stream video at Abe Martin.