Oct. 2, 2012
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.
Why is it that our school color (maroon) has now become an accent color on our football team uniforms?
We have two jersey tops in football -- maroon for home games and white on the road. Through our contract with Under Armour, we have a black, white and maroon pant that we alternate to provide different combinations. We did make the decision to go with black helmets this year, instead of white, but we have the ability to alternate that each year. The current trend among schools with apparel deals is to go bold and change things up, and we have seen this at schools such as Maryland (Under Armour), Oregon (Nike), Nebraska (Addidas) and even at tradition rich schools such as Michigan and Notre Dame have altered helmets and/or jerseys this year. Our all-sports deal with Under Armour is a big coup for our athletic program and will lend itself to different uniform combinations, but we will always try to maintain our traditional school colors while incorporating the modern color combinations that apparel companies seem to prefer. We have committed to wearing black jersey tops once a year in our Black Out Cancer game which is a fundraiser that generated over $130,000 last year.
What's the deal with SIU's identity lately? Is it SIU, the Salukis, SIU Salukis or what? How about the University finding a logo representive of the one factor that is unique to the university which is the fact that it's the one and only "Saluki" mascot in the country?
If you are referring to the University's Athletic brand, that hasn't changed, it still is the Salukis. I agree with you that the word and mark of "Salukis" is our most recognizable brand and it should be primarily used. This is evident with all of our teams utilizing the Salukis word logo on their uniforms during competition.
If you are referring to the University's brand, then I encourage you to visit this website (brand.siu.edu) and look at all of the work that is being done by our students, faculty, and staff to increase awareness of the University's brand in our region and across the country. It is a lot more than just a logo. As far as Athletics are concerned, our primary athletic mark is still the word mark Salukis and the oval Saluki dog head. All of the other marks and logos (the paw logo, SIU, etc.) that exist are licensed material, and screen print and embroiders have the right to use them in the production of gear and items, as long as they submit the proper design and it is approved.
Could you please update us on the status of the Abe Martin Field renovation project? Last I heard, it was slated to be completed by the 2014 season.
The project is still on track. 360 Architecture (which designed the Southern Illinois Miners stadium as well as all of Saluki Way) from Kansas City, Mo., has been retained to design the facility, with help locally from White & Borgognoni Architects. John Eyler of 360 will serve as the principle architect of record. They will begin the programing phase in the next few weeks and meet with many different stakeholders to assist them with their preliminary design. Fundraising has been going well with many baseball alumni having made pledges as well as Saluki donors and fans. I anticipate a big milestone in fundraising being announced soon. Receiving a matching dollar for dollar amount from campus for every dollar raised to this project has been a huge help, and in my opinion, is going to be what will allow us to make this project a reality. If every hurdle is approved by the campus and system leadership, the construction should begin almost immediately following the 2013 baseball season and the stadium would be completed in time for the 2014 season. If anyone is interested in making a gift to the Continuing the Legacy project please call or e-mail Casey Hale at 618-453-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I remind everyone that a gift of any size to this project is appreciated and matched for double its value.
What can you tell us about the status of the men's basketball roster for the upcoming season? How short-handed will the team be this coming year due to academics, suspensions, etc.?
We will have all 13 scholarship spots filled, and as most people know, Diamond Taylor is under an indefinite suspension. Coach Hinson will make a decision at some point prior to the first exhibition game of which players he will redshirt on the roster and that will be the official number of players that we will have available for the 2012-13 season. At the present time all players are academically eligible to compete this season.
What is the difference between an unofficial and an official recruiting visit?
The biggest difference between unofficial and official recruiting visits is who pays for the expenses. With an unofficial visit, we cannot pay for any of those expenses - mileage, flights, hotel rooms, meals, etc. The tradeoff is that recruits can make as many unofficial visits as they desire, and these unofficial visits can occur at any time during their high school career. With an official visit, we are able to pay for travel, lodging, and meals when a recruit visits our campus. The tradeoff is that a recruit can only make five total official visits (and only one per school), the visits can only last a total of 48 hours, and the visits can only occur during a recruit's senior year (although a new rule allows men's basketball recruits to make official visits after January of their junior year).