Today was the first day of classes for the Spring Semester, an important moment for the most obvious of reasons. Our athletes most certainly are student-athletes and the beginning of any school term is critical in terms of getting another tremendous start in the classrooms. We'll be full swing in competition for basketball, swimming and diving, gymnastics, track and field, tennis, golf, baseball and softball before long -- with off-season work in football, soccer and volleyball also under way. (Our cross country runners compete with the track teams). But our charges' scholastic work is year round. If you run into any of our student-athletes, please ask about their progress in school, and help them with some encouragement. Bear Down extends to academics!
On Tuesday, 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick met in New Orleans to discuss the BCS and the future of the college football post-season. I want to say on the front end that I was not in the meeting and cannot report on what was discussed. However, the meeting was significant because there seems to be an open mindedness to evaluating what is best for our college football postseason moving forward. We hear all the time about the good and bad of the bowl system and I think it is fair to say that both sides make good points. However, I do believe that we need to be open to new ideas and while there are many things to keep in mind as bowl game discussions continue, I hope that four items stand out:
1. What do the football student-athletes want? Let's make sure there are still opportunities for many of them to have a good postseason experience.
2. What is best for the long-term health of the regular season and postseason for college football? The game is very popular, let's make sure that we do our best to keep it there and hopefully strengthen the sport nationally.
3. What makes the most economic sense? As we all know, there is a lot of pressure on college football to support a large percentage of our athletics departments and that pressure will continue.
4. Let's not forget how special the Rose Bowl is (Coach Rodriguez wants us there soon!) as we are making our decisions.
FOOTBALL RENEWALS GOING GREEN
Last summer we announced we were going paperless with our renewal invoices, starting with men's basketball season tickets. Replacing the traditional paper mailing with online statements is obviously environmentally friendly and saves the department thousands of dollars in printing and postage costs. Any concerns regarding fan response were quickly washed away as we saw basketball renewals come in at a faster rate than previous years. Now it's time to roll out paperless renewals for football season tickets and Wildcat Club gifts (including men's basketball priority).
Next week we will send out an email to all accounts to notify you when your renewal is available. It is important that we have your most current and correct email address, so we need your help to keep your email - and other account contact information - current. Please visit our online "My Account Manager" where you have fullcontrol of your account information. Through the My Account Manager tool, you also have the ability to check on other account information, including season ticket purchases, donation history, and priority points, from the convenience of your home computer. The renewal deadline is May 1st. Please contact the McKale Ticket Office if you have any questions at 520-621-CATS (2287).
Once again we will have a convenient payment plan option available that allows you to divide the cost of your season tickets into equal monthly installments. More information about our paperless renewal process can be found here. With the excitement of Coach Rodriguez and his staff, the upcoming construction of the North End Zone project, plus an eight home game schedule (including Oklahoma State, USC and Arizona State), it's a fun time to be part of Arizona football. We look forward to seeing you back in Arizona Stadium next fall!
CATS IN ALL-STAR GAME
Football players Derek Earls, Robert Golden, C.J. Parish, Mohammed Usman, Gino Crump and Paul Vassallo have accepted an invitation to play in Monday's Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game at Kino Stadium. The game kicks off at 6:00 p.m. and includes 90 top former college players from across the country. UA football coach Rich Rodriguez is speaking at the Meet the Team reception this evening at Casino Del Sol, and former UA coach Dick Tomey will help coach one of the squads. The game will be broadcast on FS Arizona, FS Southwest Plus, FS Houston Plus, FCS and SportSouth for those of you who are out of the area. The Tucson Padres are operating the game. Call 520-434-1338 for ticket information.
This past Saturday's Select-A-Seat event function at Hi Corbett Field was a smashing success. Coach Lopezhasn't stopped smiling! By the end of the day we had increased season ticket sales by almost 250-percent from recent seasons. Nearly 500 season tickets are accounted for with more than a month to go before the season opener. If you missed the event you can still purchase season tickets online by clicking here and through the McKale Ticket Office leading up to the season. We are also looking to host another fan event at the stadium next month. It will be an opportunity to meet the whole team and check out the work done on the facility. Hi Corbett Field is going to be one of, if not the, best college baseball venues in the country. We couldn't be more excited about this upcoming season. Opening Day is February 17, just about a month away!
KUDOS TO COACH HARVEY AND STAFF
Arizona's men's and women's track and field teams earned top-10 rankings in the preseason USTFCCCA poll, it was announced on Tuesday, with the men at No. 9 and the women at No. 10. The squads return nine indoor and outdoor conference champions from the 2011 season and welcome 30 new student-athletes for 2012. The team will officially open the 2012 season at the Lumberjack Invitational, Sat., Jan. 14, hosted by NAU.
WHITE OUT 2012 IS COMING
We all remember the scene above from last year's men's basketball White Out game vs. Washington. We're looking to do it again Saturday, January 28th once again vs. Washington. That's a big day for our program. Earlier that morning ESPN College GameDay will broadcast their show live from the McKale Center. Rece Davis, Hubert Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, and Bob Knight are scheduled to appear. Doors will open at 6:00 a.m. and admission is free. The Arizona/Washington is ESPN's Saturday PrimeTime Game. It's a full day of great exposure for Coach Miller's program. We hope to see you bright and early at McKale for College GameDay and then later on that evening for the game. Wear white!
SEASON-TICKET AND OTHER TALES...
...Lowell and Anne Rothschild have had football season tickets since 1957. Their son, Jonathan, is the newly elected mayor of Tucson... Mary Louise and Walt Roberson (a '54 alum and longtime former UA administrator) have had basketball tickets since 1961. Their first pair was in the Bear Down Gym east balcony when Fred Enke was coach... (Send your ticket tales or spectating notes in case we have room for a shout-out from time to time.)... Architects met with all the appropriate staff earlier this week in reviewing aspects of the North End Zone facility in Arizona Stadium. The ground-breaking ceremony will be held next week on Friday the 20th...
Men's basketball continues Pac-12 play tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. in McKale against OSU, and at 1:30 p.m. Saturday against Oregon (televised nationally on CBS), while the women trade places with games at Oregon and at Oregon State on the same nights... Tickets to the men's games can be purchased here... Next week will include basketball, gymnastics, swimming and tennis events...
THE BEACH AND THE BEARD
Below, Meghan Hess shows the right stuff on the beach in East Hampton, N.Y., while at bottom alumnus Dave Federhar ('72) shows off who he says is the Class of '33 -- granddaughter Camryn.
Continue to do what you can to help Arizona Athletics and: