Ask the AD- October Edition

    Mario Moccia

    Mario Moccia

    Oct. 31, 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.

    E-Mail a question to Mario Moccia

    May a prospect make an official visit to SIU and then make as many unofficial visits as he or she desires?

    Yes. A recruit may only make one official visit to SIU (and only five official visits total), but he or she may make an unlimited amount of unofficial visits at any point during his or her high school career. Limiting the number of official visits (where we may pay the expenses of the visit) is designed to keep schools on the same level playing field regardless of their budgets. Unofficial visits (where we may not pay any of the expenses) are unlimited in order to encourage recruits to become as familiar with a university and its coaches and team as possible, so that they can make a well-informed decision about their future.

    In the future, can volleyball matches and football games be scheduled an hour or two further apart so that they don't conflict with tailgating?

    For games that are not part of the MVFC television package, we set the football start times with the primary goal of maximizing fan attendance. Our historical evidence shows we do best with night games early in the season and afternoon games thereafter. We also coordinate with campus entities regarding Homecoming and Family Weekend game times. When a volleyball match falls on a home football Saturday, we try to spread out the start times to allow fans to attend both events and to allow our working staff time to cover both events.

    One complicating factor is an MVC rule requiring visiting volleyball teams to have 24 hours between matches. So if a conference opponent played at the University of Evansville on Friday at 7 p.m., we would have to play Saturday's match at 7 p.m. Most coaches around the league are flexible and will move game times a few hours to accommodate these situations. For example, last Friday we beat Drake in Des Moines at 7 p.m. and played Creighton in Omaha the next day at 4 p.m. It is unreasonable, however, to ask coaches to move their match times more than a few hours, because student-athletes need a minimum recovery period.

    There are 10 MVFC teams, so each has nine potential conference opponents. Since each team only plays eight of the nine, how does the MVFC determine which eight?

    Two major factors come into play - first, protecting traditional rivalries, and second, limiting long trips to the extent possible. The conference tries to avoid assigning road games in any given year that would require any team to have more than two charter flights.

    We do not have South Dakota on our schedule this year or next, but they will be added in 2014 and 2015, during which time South Dakota State comes off. In 2016, North Dakota State comes off and South Dakota State comes back on.

    Is there any update on the prospect of adding women's soccer?

    No update to give at this time. As discussed previously, we have a facility to accommodate women's soccer as well as a fully completed locker room. With our budget situation, adding a sport at the present time isn't something we can support, but once the budget situation improves, we will look at adding women's soccer first and foremost. In addition, if a Title IX situation mandated another women's sport be added (if the female enrollment at SIU suddenly increased significantly) this is something we could put in place quickly.

    Why was the swimming & diving schedule reduced by one half this year? All that work for four meets and a conference championship.

    I spoke to head coach Rick Walker, and he explained that the NCAA reduced the number of required competitions in the sport of Swimming and Diving from 10 to six. This was done to reduce travel costs and the amount of missed classes. The decision was not met with much resistance by programs around the country. If you are a regular starter in the lineup, you have roughly six to eight competitions throughout the season. If you are not assured a starting role, you would have fewer chances to compete. Each of the competitions is extremely demanding and takes its toll on the athlete and breaks up the training cycle.

    Coach Walker is a big believer in staying race ready, so he has our competitions spread out evenly throughout the season. We tried to schedule Illinois this year, but they are traveling at Christmas and we are not. We still expect to pick up Washington University in January and we added the USA National Championships, which is a good meet for program visibility and is good for recruiting. This is the first year to be under the new requirement, and we can adjust our competition schedule in the future, as needed.

    Upon visiting other MVFC school's forums they all seem to have a fearful respect of the Coach Lennon "Mustache". How about a promotion where you give out mustaches to the fans as they enter the stadium? Sort of a "Fear the Stache" promotion. Fans would love it.

    Interesting question and I noticed that NDSU gave away, I believe, 2,000 mustaches when we played last week. This is something Coach Lennon would need to approve, of course, but I am sure our marketing folks could have some fun with this and our Saluki Sports Properties sales people would look for a sponsor as well. I have passed along your suggestion to our Assistant AD for Marketing Steve Sowers.