Ask the AD- December Edition

    Dec. 31, 2011

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - 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

    Q: Can something be done about the chain link fence attached to the guide rails at Saluki stadium? I am afraid of using some of the guide rails because the fence sticks out above the rail and I worry about getting cut or caught on the links.

    This is the first I have heard of a complaint with the fence and guide rails. I have alerted our Senior Associate AD, Jason King, who oversees all our facilities, to take a look at this situation. Feel free to email him at after January 4, and I am sure he will respond to your concern. If there is a safety issue, we will certainly work with the Physical Plant to come up with a solution. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.

    Q: Why can we not have someone who sings the national anthem the way it is supposed to be sung at the basketball games? It's the national anthem! It does not need someone's personal embellishment or "country twang" added.

    We have a diverse group of singers at the events where the national anthem is performed. They are asked to present tapes of their performance, and in some cases, we have had auditions as well. We discusswith the singersthe need to perform a "traditional" rendition, but once they are in front of the crowd, their performance is out of our control. Nerves and potential performance anxiety I am sure plays a part into falling back on a style with which a singer may be more familiar. It is our desire that all anthem performances are performed in a traditional fashion while still giving local singers from the southern Illinois region an opportunity to participate. For those who may be interested in singing the national anthem at Saluki sporting events, please contact Steve Sowers at or 618-453-5153.

    Q: How far in advance of the basketball season is the schedule set?

    The MVC schedule is given to all league teams in late August after television networks have selected games. Our non-conference games are either two- or four-year contracts, and those are set approximately one year prior to the first game. Our MTE tournaments (Multiple Team Events), i.e. ESPN Diamondhead, etc... are done at least one year in advance of the tournament, and we attempt to schedule two tournaments for consecutive years at the same time. In some cases, the games are scheduled, and the exact dates are worked out later.

    Q: Why can't we recruit players who understand how to act like sensible young men, avoid trouble and make grades? We are paying for their college and they act like they could care less.

    We have 390 student-athletes, where the vast majority of them attend class, participate in community service initiatives, compete hard and graduate. One of the statistics we are most proud of is that if you compete all four years for the Salukis, our graduation rate averages 92 percent during the past 10 years. Fifty-six percent of our student-athletes currently have a 3.00 GPA or better. Our student-athletes performed more than 800 hours of community service last year. When a student-athlete, specifically in a high profile sport, makes a mistake socially or academically it ends up on the front page of the newspaper, whereas the general student does not have that level of scrutiny. We certainly strive to recruit great students and good people but a blanket statement about our student-athletes is incorrect.

    Q: What is the best way for an interested player to attempt to walk-on on a team?

    A prospective student-athlete should contact either the specific coaching staff or athletic administration and we can get you the dates, location and any needed paperwork to be completed before the tryout.

    Q: I have never seen a copy of the "Team Rules" that are often referred to by coaches and administrators and would like to know what they are? Publication of the list could set an example of what is required of kids.

    We have our student-athlete handbook, which contains many rules for our student-athletes both academically and socially. The handbook is provided to all student-athletes at the beginning of every academic year during squad meetings. This information is posted on our official website ( so it can be accessed by all our athletes and the general public. In addition to these rules, each coach has written guidelines specific to their program. We have not put these on-line because they are for a small group of individuals, but I will bring this topic is brought up in our head coaches meeting and see what their thoughts are on publicly posting these as well.

    Q: What is the latest on the possibility of SIU hosting the IHSA football championships?

    We communicate regularly with the IHSA and have been told the process for selecting a new site for the football championships will begin after the new year. We plan to submit our bid for this as soon as the IHSA is ready to accept it. I would also add that through our communication with the IHSA, we have been able to secure the Boys Class 1A and 2A basketball super-sectionals which will be held in the SIU Arena March 6, 2012. Our goal is to continue to work with the IHSA to bring more events to Southern Illinois.