Athletics Director Greg Byrne's weekly email discussing Wildcat Athletics
April 25, 2012
ARTIFICIAL SURFACE IN ARIZONA STADIUM?
Last week there were media reports stating we were considering installing an artificial surface in Arizona Stadium beginning with the 2013 football season. Those reports are true, although it is not a done deal at this point. Let me give you some background on why we are considering this:
· The modern artificial surfaces are much safer than the past products and some in the industry believe that they are safer than grass. Here is a link to one study: http://bit.ly/IoSsLb
· Arizona Stadium would become a year round facility that we could use for conditioning and practice. We currently are very limited in its use and most of the time it sits empty except on game days and the occasional in-stadium practice. Don’t forget that this year-round surface would be located right outside the new weight room in the North End Zone Facility, which would make access very easy for workouts.
· Coach Rodriguez believes that the modern artificial surface is the most consistent surface available and he likes that from a safety and competitive standpoint.
· There have been advances in the heat retention issues of the past. So much so that several college football programs in warm weather environments are now using an artificial surface including Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
SUPER TUESDAY: MAY 1ST RENEWAL DEADLINE COMING UP
We’re down to the final week of our football season ticket and Wildcat Club gift (including men’s basketball priority) renewal campaign. The deadline is Tuesday, May 1 at 5 p.m. If you haven’t renewed yet, here’s a linkto the “My Account” page. Login in and you can renew for next season in just a few clicks of the mouse. If you need assistance retrieving your password, or would rather renew over the phone, please call the helpful staff at the McKale Ticket Office at 520-621-CATS (2287).
Now might be a good time to make you aware that we have renewed with Bon Voyage Travel to provide the Cat Cruiser for our Phoenix area fans. Fans in the Valley can catch a ride on the bus and receive transportation from the Phoenix area to Arizona Stadium for all home football games. Reservations are already underway.Click here to reserve your spot or to get more information. We’re also working with Sun Tran to once again provide bus transportation here in Tucson and hope to have that renewed soon.
We continue to stay ahead of last year’s renewal rate, but this is the crunch time. Your financial support through purchasing season tickets and joining the Wildcat Club is critical to our department as we close out the year. Remember, you’re not just supporting football and/or men’s basketball, but all 500 student-athletes at the University of Arizona. Without our season ticket holders and Wildcat Club members celebrations, such as the one described below, would not happen. I want to thank all those who have renewed already and to those who are on the fence, please read below and remember our goals and principals.
2011-12 WILDCATS FLOURISH
We held our annual C.A.T.S. Awards Banqueton Monday and I must say it's refreshing to see the kind of success our student-athletes achieve each year. Some 77 Wildcats will be receiving degrees this year, for one, and that's our primary goal. And 188 student-athletes earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, a remarkable level of scholastic strength -- with another 17 at a perfect 4.0. Athletics' valedictorians were recognized in Hanna Henson of track and field and Sarah NeSmith of soccer. Too, it's amazing to honor the elite-level competitive success stories we enjoy across the board. Our outstanding senior student-athlete winners -- the Ruby and Sapphire Awards -- went to Alyssa Anderson of swimming and Katie Matusik ofgymnastics (a tie), and Cory Chitwood of swimming and diving, respectively. Fifteen students won individual or relay NCAA titles. Bryson Beirne of football earned the Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award. Former Wildcats John and Judy (Tozer) Bardis and Jill Smoller were named Silver Anniversary Award winners. Shelby Pendley ofsoftball and Manon Gidali of women's golf (tie), and Kevin Cordes of swimming and diving were named Freshmen of the Year; swimmer Margo Geer and distance runner Lawi Lalang won Sophomore of the Year honors; and track and field's Nick Ross and Brigetta Barrett earned the Junior of the Year awards. We salute all these honorees and every student-athlete who strives for success in the classrooms and in their sport. You occasionally think you might have seen it all in this business, and then along comes a new group of achievers. It's a great day to be a Wildcat!
Student-athletes were also recognized for their work in the community at the C.A.T.S. Banquet. As a group, they contributed more than 3,800 hours of community service throughout the past year. We recognized the team with the highest average of community service hours per team member, as well as the male and female student-athlete with the most community service hours. This year’s individual award winners were Rebecca Cardenas (gymnastics) and Andres Guerra (men’s swimming & diving). The team award went to the gymnastics team who performed an average of 43 hours of community service per team member. Click here to check out a recap of what our Cats have been up to in the community.
I was asked about work being done on the upper east side of Arizona Stadium -- activity that shows up on the web cam of the north end zone facility project. Contractors are putting down some sealant in order to protect the surface up there and what's below -- the world-class Steward Observatory Mirror Lab and other campus facilities. If you haven't seen recent progress, here's a view:
PRINT-AT-HOME REMINDERS FOR BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL
We’ve seen an increase in the number of fans using the print-at-home option, which is a benefit for everyone. For fans with the print-at-home tickets, they can walk right into the stadium and bypass the box office lines. For ticket office staff, it frees up man power and allows them to provide better customer service at the box office windows. We’ve made an improvement on the system by allowing fans to purchase print-at-home tickets right up until game time (previously it was one hour before game time). Both baseball and softball are hosting home series this weekend. If you don’t have tickets yet, buy online and give the print-at-home option a try.
MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON TICKETS ON SALE NOW
It’s only April, but excitement is already building for next year’s men’s basketball season. In case you missed it, the Daily Star had a nice story on the recruiting class, which is considered No. 1 in the nation! Click here to read online. It’s not too early start thinking about season tickets. Contrary to popular belief, there are some seats still available for purchase. We’re currently accepting season ticket deposits for open seats in the non-priority areas. Coach Miller has the program back at an elite level. Get your season tickets now while they are available!
Our women's tennis team earned a rousing victory (7-0) over our competitors to the north in front of a loud crowd on campus last Friday to give the University of Arizona an 8.5 to 4.5 lead in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series. We need one more full point to take a third title in the three-year-old series. There are still a few events that count -- the women's tennis competition at the Pac-12s this week, women's golf at the Pac-12 Championships this weekend in Pullman, men's golf at the Pac-12 Championships in Corvallis, baseball (four more games, UA trailing 0-1), and men's and women's outdoor track and field at the Pac-12s (May 5-6, May 12-13) in Eugene. The SFTCS, of course, is a friendly series taking its name from the Territorial Cup awarded in the UA-ASU football rivalry. We want to be the best in our state, and aim to do so. Bear Down!
BEST WISHES FOR FUTURE A-CLUB MEMBERS
We would like to wish our Arizona football lettermen best of luck with the 2012 NFL Draft which starts tomorrow. You will always have a home at the University of Arizona and we wish you the greatest success in your professional career. I know every football player dreams of hearing the commissioner call their name during the draft and I hope it happens for you at some point during these next few days.
DRAFT PARTIES A FOCUS FOR COMPLIANCE
With the NFL draft coming up the next few days, our Compliance Office has been busy reminding our current (and former) student-athletes about the potential problems involving "Draft Parties." Most of you wouldn't think about the kinds of problems that could arise from something as innocuous as a "Draft Party," so I thought you might be interested in knowing some of the things we need to watch out for.
Each year, parties or other events occur across the country in conjunction with the annual drafts for professional sports leagues. These parties and other events are hosted and/or attended by agents, third parties, professional athletes, and draft prospects. A current student-athlete's attendance at such parties or events may result in violations of NCAA legislation if the student-athlete does not pay for the benefits or services he or she receives.
Travel expenses, lodging, meals and other expenses (e.g., entertainment) provided to a current student-athlete at no charge and financed by individuals meeting the definition of an agent would result in a violation of the benefits from prospective agents legislation. The NCAA enforcement staff is aware of previous draft day parties and events where draft prospects invited friends and former teammates, some of whom were then-current student-athletes, to attend such events. Unbeknownst to the student-athlete, the expenses received (e.g., entertainment, lodging, meals) were financed by individuals meeting the definition of an agent. Receipt of such expenses constitutes an impermissible benefit from an agent and jeopardizes the student-athlete's NCAA eligibility.
Even if all of the benefits received by a student-athlete associated with attendance at a draft day party or other events came directly from a friend and former teammate, there may still be a violation involving impermissible preferential treatment. The issue of a current student-athlete receiving benefits from a former student-athlete was reviewed by the NCAA in 2001. At that time, they determined that the standard for reviewing cases involving benefits provided to a current student-athlete from a former teammate should be whether the type of benefit provided is consistent with what was provided when the donor and recipient of the benefit were college teammates. This analysis continues to be used when determining whether a student-athlete received impermissible benefits from a former teammate. In other words, if a former teammate used to buy them lunch when they were teammates, they can still buy them lunch, but not a car.
50+ YEARS OF FOOTBALL SEASON TICKETS
In our recognition of our 50+ years season ticket holders, we would like you to meet Charles Lamb (’46). A resident of Tucson since 1933, he attended the University of Arizona where he was a student-athlete on our men's golf team. In 1946 he won the State of Arizona Golf Amateur competition. Prior to graduation, he served a year in the United States Army overseas in Germany during WWII. For over 55 years, Charles has been a long-time fan of Arizona football and we thank him for his continued support.
SCHEDULE PART 1
Before we get into some events, a serious date is next Wednesday, May 2 -- the final day of classes for the spring semester. Our coaches and academic support people have done a good job of keeping our charges focused on earning an education, and another segment of that journey is nearing an end. Final exams will begin at the end of next week and it's a crucial time for our student-athletes. Give some encouragement and an acknowledgment if you have a chance, please.
* Our men'sand women's tennis teams are off to Ojai, Calif., for the Pac-12 Championships venue in the greater Santa Barbara area. The men started today and the event continues through Saturday while the women compete tomorrow through Sunday. Go Cats!
* Our men's and women's golf team take to different courses in Pac-12 Championships play this weekend, as mentioned. The men play in Oregon Friday through Sunday, while the women play in eastern Washington the same days. Fairways and greens!
* The baseball team meets East Tennessee State for a three-game home series at Hi Corbett Field. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday.
* Softball plays a key Pac-12 home series at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium this weekend, with game times against Oregon at 7 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday.
* Track and field teams will play host to a scored meet with ASU and NAU at Drachman Stadium at 4 p.m. Saturday. The meet will feature some of the best teams in the nation with UA’s No. 8 women and No. 13 men and ASU’s No. 3 men and No. 10 women, not to mention numerous potential Olympians. Distance specialists Lawi Lalang and Jen Bergman will join some other top national runners in a meet at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on Sunday.
Tucsonans -- we hope you can make some time to join us at either baseball, softball or track -- or all of them. Admission to the track meet is free and tickets for baseball and softball can be purchased online atArizonaWildcats.com. Your support has been pivotal to our success and you know we appreciate it, always.
GREEN MONSTERS AND GETTING THE WIN
Below, Deborah Van Sant and Gregory Rogan on a visit to Fenway Park in Boston, and at bottom Drew Hollenback of the Phoenix Young Alumni sent a photo of his softball team after its first victory of the year recently. Wearing the colors is important whether in Massachusetts or the Valley. The Wildcat Movement is everywhere...
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