Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
April 11, 2012
ONE MORE INVITATION
The Arizona footballannual Spring Game is at 1 p.m. this Saturday (April 14) at Kino Stadium, about three miles south of campus, and it's a very good opportunity for Coach Rich Rodriguez to show you the scope of the team's progress in spring ball, as well as for fans to check out the new dynamics of his program. As a public event, we won't be exactly showing everything we do, but you'll get a solid glimpse of some new energy and dedication. Coach Rodriguez says Arizona will be the best-conditioned team in America, and you'll see the early returns from that emphasis. We want Kino Stadium filled, to help us get Coach Rod's program going with a head of steam in terms of your best Wildcat support. Admission and parking are free. Click here for more information on this year's Spring Game. And, don't forget, the next UA Spring Game will be held before the magnificent facade of the North End Zone Facility in Arizona Stadium.
More than 100 former Wildcats are expected back this weekend for football's spring Alumni Weekend. That's some solid representation, and gives us a good mix of the "old" and the new this weekend.
MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL CHALLENGES
Yesterday I was in Phoenix and had a variety of meetings. One of the stops I made was for my bi-weekly radio show on XTRA 910 with Bickley & MJ. During the program Dan Bickley asked me about the one-and-done rule in basketball and how universities feel about it. I thought it might be good to bring it up here in Wildcat Wednesday.
The first thing to remember is that the one-and-done rule is actually a rule within the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. It is not an NCAA rule. In 2005 the NBA and its Players Union added an age limitthat required players entering the draft to be 19 years old or have completed their freshman year of college. Before then players were allowed to jump from high school to the pros.
While I cannot speak for all universities I can tell you that it is not a rule that we prefer at the University of Arizona and many coaches and leaders in men's college basketball are not in favor of it either.
Here are the challenges with getting it changed to a longer time period that require the men's basketball student-athletes to stay longer in school or to even change it to the college baseball model where if you enroll in college and don't enter the major league draft out of high school you must stay for three years before you are draft eligible. Again, that's a model that is often mentioned as a solution.
1.The NBA Players Union has wanted as much freedom as possible for players to enter the draft. My understanding is that part of their goal is to put the NBA players in the best position to obtain a third NBA contract. The older you are means the less chance of securing that last contract that can be very valuable for the player. I have asked one of our former players who plays in the NBA about this and he told me that the players like that flexibility to come in as early as possible.
2.The NBA favors more time in college for their future players but they are not in favor of the emulating the baseball rule that I described earlier because they do not want to go back to scouting high school games and having that be part of their draft preparation as well as their desire for older more mature players in their league. (I can understand that thought process)
The NCAA and men's college basketball is left trying to manage the challenges of the rule. You cannot fault a young man or woman taking advantage of an opportunity to fulfill their professional dreams and potentially their financial dreams as well. Also, you can't fault a university that is playing by the current rules as they manage their programs. However, many young men enter the draft before they are ready and more time in college would greatly increase the chances of them graduating as well as sending them to the NBA or the professional ranks as an older and more mature individual.
I hope in time that all parties involved can find a middle ground that the NBA Players Union, NBA and the NCAA schools can be comfortable with that will keep the game strong and even make it stronger on both the college and professional levels.
NCAA GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Junior Aubree Cristello and senior Katie Matusik have qualified for the NCAA Championships as individuals and will compete April 20-22 in Duluth, Ga. Aubree placed third in the all-around at the NCAA Regional last weekend and Katie won the balance beam to earn a ticket. Good luck!Gymnastics placed fourth in the regional to conclude a solid season for the team.
Earlier last week, Shana Sangston was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team, while Cristello and Britnie Jones earned second-team honors. Congratulations!
SWIMMING ACADEMIC HONOREES
A total of 11 men's and women's swimmerswere named to the Pac-12 All-Academic Team last week, with an additional 14 earning honorable mention citations. That's impressive. Emma Darlington, Chelsey Salli, Aubrey Peacock on the women's side, and Andres Guerra and Austen Thompson on the men's side earned first-team honors. Second-team picks were Ainsley Oliver, Ellyn Baumgardner, Ashley Herrera, Cameron Owen and Mitchell Friedemann. Honorable mention went to Alyssa Anderson, Grace Kittle, Monica Drake, Sarah Denninghoff, Ashley Evans, Kait Flederbach, Margo Geer, Lindsey Seemann, Hallie Stupp, Cory Chitwood, Ben Grado, Nick Hadinger, Kevin Munsch and Tommy Gutman. Thanks to each for their focused academics.
Also, of late, diver Ben Grado (NCAA platform champion) and coach Omar Ojeda were named, respectively, as Pac-12 Diver and Diving Coach of the Year. Congratulations for the lofty honors!
FIRST PLACE ON THE LINE AT HI CORBETT
Baseball begins a weekend series vs. UCLA this Friday at 6 p.m. at Hi Corbett Field. The Wildcats have a one-game lead over the Bruins for first place in the Pac-12 standings. The game will be shown nationally on Fox Sports Net on a tape-delayed basis. Check your local listings to see when it will air in your market. Of course if you're around Tucson we hope you come out to the ballpark to watch the game in person! We have promotions lined up for every game of the series. The first 500 fans at Friday's game will receive a free Wildcats drawstring backpack. Saturday's game also starts at 6 p.m. and is "Guy's Night Out." Get four tickets and four beverage vouchers for only $20. Sunday's noon matinee is a "Sunday Funday," as select concession items are 50% off. In addition, the first 500 fans at Sunday's game will receive a free Wildcats inflatable bat. Remember to buy your tickets in advance online. Use the print-at-home option and have your ticket emailed directly to you. It's quick and easy, and when you arrive at the ballpark you can bypass the ticket line and go straight to the gate with your printed ticket. Print-at-home tickets are available for purchase up until one hour prior to first pitch.
The Wildcats travel to Tempe for a single game (non-league) next Tuesday. It's the first of five meetings to determine a State Farm Territorial Cup Series point. It's going to be an exciting week of baseball. Please be a part of it!
TRACKING THE CATS
The men's and women's nationally-ranked track and field teams have logged some successful weeks of competition to open the outdoor season. The UA men have five marks that currently sit in the top 10 in the country with an NCAA leader from senior Stephen Sambu in the 5,000 meters (13:31.51). On the women's side, five Wildcats hold marks in the top 10 with NCAA leaders from juniors Georganne Moline (400-meter hurdles, 56.02) and Brigetta Barrett (high jump, 6-4.75).
For their efforts at last weekend's Stanford Invitational Sambu was named the Pac-12 Men's Runner of the Week and Barrett was named the Pac-12 Women's Field Athlete of the Week. Both turned in NCAA-leading marks while winning their respective events in championship-caliber fields. Kudos!
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Thank you to all the Wildcat Club members in attendance for the Friday Night Lights open football practice last week. The practice was open to all current Wildcat Club members and we appreciate your continued support of Arizona Athletics and the Wildcat Club. To donate and become a Wildcat Club member, please visit WildcatClub.org for more information.
MAY 1ST RENEWAL DEADLINE IS APPROACHING
The football season ticket and Wildcat Club gift renewal period is almost over. Thank you to everyone that has renewed thus far. We are much further ahead of last year's pace. For those that haven't renewed, the deadline is coming up. ArizonaWildcats.com is available 24/7 to renew online. The folks in the McKale Ticket Office are more than happy to help those that need some assistance renewing online. Give them a call at 520-621-CATS (2287). As always, new season ticket orders are being accepted. Help us "pull the rope" and get football to a championship level.
Speaking of renewing football season tickets, we're once again going to take a look at a football season ticket holder of 50+ years. Please meet Jerry Dodson. He and his wife Cissy have been football season ticket holders for 56 years. Born and raised in Tucson, Jerry attended the University of Arizona on a baseball scholarship and graduated in 1950. Upon graduation, Jerry attended medical school in Texas and eventually moved back to Tucson, where he has been practicing ever since. Thank you for your dedication Jerry and Cissy!
·Softball travels to California for a three-game series Friday through Sunday, a key match-up against one of the top-ranked teams in the county.
·Women's tennis will host Colorado on Friday (1:30 p.m.) and Utah on Saturday (noon) at the Robson Center on campus in two key league matches. Admission is free.
·Our men's tennis team takes to the road for league matches at Oregon on Friday and at Washington on Sunday.
·Women's golf is off to the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate tournament in San Francisco next Monday and Tuesday, its final regular-season play before the Pac-12 Championships start April 27 in Pullman, Wash. Men's golf ended its regular season earlier this week and gears up for Pac-12 Championship play, starting April 27 in Corvallis, Ore.