Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcat Wednesday - NCAA Convention Update
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 22, 2014
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For the first time in my career, I attended the NCAA Convention last week (with a quick trip back to Tucson on Thursday for the men’s basketball game). The reason I went, and many of my peers did as well, is that we are having extensive discussions on the future governance model for Division I intercollegiate athletics. 

The Big 5 conferences (Pac-12, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and ACC) are seeking more autonomy in how we administer intercollegiate athletics. For instance, if we want to look at having a full cost of attendance stipend for our student-athletes, there seems to be support to allow the Big 5 conferences to have the autonomy to explore that. It may seem like a simple decision but the devil will be in the details. How does it impact Title IX? Where does the money come from to allow that? Do you only do it for certain sports? 

One of the biggest challenges in our current governance model is that we often try to have the same rules and regulations apply for schools with $100 million plus budgets as well as schools with $20 million budgets. As you can imagine, when the budgets between schools have that big of a gap, the needs and issues can be very different.   

While we did not finalize the new model in San Diego, the Executive Committee and Board of Directors for the NCAA were able to get some valuable feedback from many Division I programs that will hopefully allow for a more modern and efficient model moving forward. We anticipate that the new model will also do a better job of involving the day-to-day operators (athletics directors who are engaged with student-athletes, academics, coaches, compliance, training room, etc.), which we feel will be an important change from what we currently have. 


We had a great time at the AdvoCare V100 Bowl last month and really appreciate our fans that were able to join us in Shreveport to share the experience with us. We are also very appreciative to those who showed support for our bowl by purchasing tickets to be donated to local military personnel. The military folks that I bumped into were very grateful to attend the game with their family and friends. The Veteran’s Ticket Foundation, the group we worked with on the donation program, sent us a link to a webpage filled with thank you notes from those that used the tickets. You can read those messages by clicking 
here. Thanks again for your support!


The 2014 
gymnastics season got underway two weeks ago. Saturday will be the first time the team competes in front of their home fans. The No. 17 GymCats will host Oklahoma this Saturday at 4 p.m. It’s a huge match for our young ladies as Oklahoma is the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. We’ve teamed with Groupon to offer a special promotion for this meet. Click here for details. After the meet, the entire team will be available for autographs. Also, season tickets are still available for only $20 (click here to buy). It’s an incredible bargain to watch high level college gymnastics in a family-friendly environment. Hope to see you at McKale this Saturday! 


New donor acquisition and renewals of past donations are high priorities for us this time of year. We hope that you are donating to Arizona athletics because you want to help our student-athletes succeed, but we also want you to know that there are different annual giving benefits you receive by becoming a Wildcat Club member.

Depending on your annual gift club level, members may receive benefits such as a window decal, parking, first opportunity to request postseason tickets, and Bear Down Buzz e-newsletter. Our Bear Down Buzz e-newsletter is designed to give you an inside look at some of our programs, interesting news and access to exclusive content. You can take a look at our most recent Bear Down Buzz highlighting the Johnson brothers from men’s basketball by clicking on the photo below. We hope you’ll consider joining us in our quest to reach 12,000 Wildcat Club members by June.


Thank you to all the student-athletes that have participated in Cats Give Back Week. Cats Give Back Week is a week dedicated to community service. All of our teams participate in some fashion by going out in the community and giving back. Thank you to Michelle Floyd (Softball) and Amanda Russell (Cross Country) for attending a National Charity League chapter meeting. During this meeting, these student-athletes explained what it means to work hard. They also encouraged the girls to be leaders in the last years of their high school career. While giving examples of their own leadership experiences, these student-athletes were able to make an impression on the lives of these young ladies. To Michelle and Amanda, thank you for your continued excellence on and off the playing field. 


With the success of our basketball team, just a friendly reminder to all of our fans about the NCAA rules on autographs. NCAA rules state that a current student-athlete can lose their future collegiate eligibility if their name, picture, autograph, or likeness is sold. 

Some fans are under the mistaken impression that if the student-athlete is not paid for the autograph, then it is permissible to sell it. That is inaccurate. The sale of the autographed item is prohibited and can cause the student-athlete to lose their collegiate eligibility. 

If you receive an autographed item, it is with the mutual understanding that the item received will never be sold or traded for anything of value as long as any autograph on that item represents a student-athlete currently competing for the University of Arizona. Your cooperation in protecting our student-athletes is greatly appreciated. 

If you have any questions concerning this important information or if you are aware of an item being sold in violation of these rules, please do not hesitate to contact our compliance office at (520) 621-4796.


Track & Field’s Nick Ross earned honorable mention National Athlete of the Week honors after setting a school record with a 7-6.5 clearance in the high jump at the Lumberjack Team Challenge … Soccer’s Jazmin Ponce was called into the Mexican National Team camp and will join them at the end of the month … Gymnastics’ Kristin Klarenbach and Shelby Edwards each posted 9.9s to tie for first on vault in Arizona’s tri-meet with Stanford and Sacramento St. last weekend … A reminder that tickets are on-sale for our football signing day event, Night of OKGs, in the Sands Club on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the program getting underway at 6:15 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online here.


Here is a look at this week’s Arizona Athletics events (Home events in BOLD). All times are listed as Mountain Standard Time. To purchase tickets for home events, click here. To access live stats from your desktop or mobile device, visit

7:00 p.m.: Men’s Basketball vs. Colorado (TV: ESPN2) (Radio: TuneIn)

All Day: Track & Field at New Mexico Cherry & Silver Invitational (at Albuquerque, N.M.)
12:30 p.m.: Men’s Tennis vs. Northern Arizona
3:00 p.m.: Swimming & Diving at Stanford
7:00 p.m.: Women’s Basketball at Colorado (Live Audio Stream

All Day: Track & Field at New Mexico Cherry & Silver Invitational (at Albuquerque, N.M.)
11:00 a.m.: Women’s Tennis vs. Northern Arizona
1:00 p.m.: Swimming & Diving at California
4:00 p.m.: Gymnastics vs. Oklahoma

11:00 a.m.: Men’s Tennis vs. UC Riverside
3:00 p.m.: Women’s Basketball at Utah (Live Audio Stream)
6:00 p.m.: Men’s Basketball vs. Utah (TV: FOX Sports 1) (Radio: TuneIn)

8:30 a.m.: Men’s Golf hosts Arizona Intercollegiate (at Sewailo Golf Club)

8:30 a.m.: Men’s Golf hosts Arizona Intercollegiate (at Sewailo Golf Club)

7:00 p.m.: Men’s Basketball at Stanford (TV: ESPN2) (Radio: TuneIn)


NOTE: When submitting photos for Wildcat Wednesday, please ensure they are clear and properly lit. Also, please make sure to identify everyone in the photo so we can highlight them accordingly. Thanks for your help.

Continue to do what you can to help Arizona Athletics and:

    1.   Join the Wildcat Movement
    2.   Buy Season Tickets
    3.   Wear the Colors (Especially on Friday)
    4.   Get Others to do the Same

Bear Down with Pride,

Greg Byrne
Vice President for Athletics
The University of Arizona

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