June 24, 2010
SPREAD THE WORD
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Like we discussed earlier, we are very pleased with the addition of the University of Colorado and the University of Utah to the Pac-10. They both will bring many strengths to our conference both academically and athletically and will be exciting new competitors for Arizona.
As you can imagine, this subject was one of the most interesting things I have been associated with in my more than 16 years of directly working in intercollegiate athletics. I had a unique angle because of my years in the Southeastern Conference, the fact that my father is in the Big 12 and now that I am back in the Pac-10. Let me give some observations:
- I was very impressed with Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott. He swung for the fences and came away with solid additions for our league.
- The Pac-10 was discussed more during a period of a few weeks than it had been in years from a national perspective.
- There were a lot of reports all the way to the end that were inaccurate. The day that it was announced that the Big 12 would stay together, minus Nebraska and Colorado, there were other reports that morning that said it was not going to stay together. It gave us all another good reminder that in our age of instant information you must not always assume that what you read is accurate. Final decisions had not been made, but many believed they had been. The media was trying (understandably) to be the first to report the story and, with that, it does allow the opportunity for unintentional mistakes or inaccurate reports.
- Some people have asked me why expansion came up when it did. The bottom line is because there are media-rights agreements that were expiring with both the Pac-10 and Big 12 and because of the revenue generation that we are dependent on from those contracts. The SEC and Big 10 have created a divide because of the value of their television agreements that the Pac-10 hopefully will be shrinking with our new agreement. What had to be included and understood in this was the importance of making sure that any additional teams added to our conference were a good fit from an academic perspective, too. The Pac-10 and its leadership were very sensitive to this, as it should be.
- There have been outlets that were critical of what was in play during the expansion discussion, blaming the moves strictly on money. There was no doubt that money was an important factor in this. However, what gets lost when that argument is given is the impact the money has on what we are able to do. We cannot be a drain on campus finances and we have to generate revenue to pay for our expenses. For instance, everyone reading this has been impacted by the challenging economy. When your travel, food, fuel, and insurance costs go up, so do ours. We have 19 sports and 500 student-athletes and it is our goal to compete on a national level for all of our sports. It costs a lot to manage all of this. We will have facility updates (locker rooms, academic areas, training rooms, stadiums, etc.) that will be needed in the future and again we will have to have different revenue streams to pay for these. At almost every event I have attended, one of our great fans tells me that we need to update the restrooms, elevators and concessions at Arizona Stadium. They are correct and we are going to have to find a way to do that in the future. It will take a significant investment in the tens of millions of dollars when you are talking about the infrastructure that is needed to accommodate over 50,000 fans. So yes, money had a big impact on what was taking place; the finances are necessary.
I hope you find this informative and helpful from one person's perspective.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR, AGAIN
One of our outstanding female student-athletes will be announced tomorrow as the Pac-10 Woman of the Year. It's the second presentation of the young award, won last year by Wildcat swimmer Lacey Nymeyer in its inaugural year. The honor puts this female student-athlete in contention for the NCAA Woman of the Year award, which Arizona student-athletes have won twice in the last three years -- Whitney Myers in 2007 and Nymeyer in 2009. UA also has a fourth NCAA Woman of the Year to its credit, track and field jumper Tanya Hughes in 1994. No other Pac-10 school has had an NCAA Woman of the Year, an outstanding endorsement for University of Arizona Athletics.
MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU
Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers won the 12th NBA Championship ring for a former UA player last week. It's Walton's second to go along with Steve Kerr's five (Chicago Bulls-3, San Antonio Spurs-2), Jud Buechler's three (Bulls) and one each by Bison Dele (Bulls) and Sean Elliott (Spurs). Congratulations, Luke! As for the Lakers' title, we're for ALL the teams that have players who once proudly wore the Red and Blue.
WELCOMING BACK TEAMS
I've received comments about the fact we did not hold a welcome-back event for the Wildcats after their run to the title showdown in the softball Women's College World Series. The softball team definitely is deserving of recognition for their outstanding performance at the softball College World Series. However, due to lengthy travel arrangements, putting together a celebration was impossible. Hopefully, we can honor the team at a future event. We hope you understand and sure do appreciate everyone's interest.
YOUNG ALUMNI PROGRAMS
Did you know that recent graduates from the University of Arizona (within the last five years) can receive discounts on Arizona Football tickets and Wildcat Club membership? Young Alumni can receive 15% off football season tickets (not including the priority amounts) and they can join the Wildcat Club for only $50, half the minimum cost of membership. Since the end of our fiscal year is next Wednesday, we encourage all recent UA graduates to purchase football tickets or join the Wildcat Club before June 30th. These are two great ways for our young alums to stay connected with Arizona Athletics.
THE FACE OF FOOTBALL
Nearly all of Arizona Football’s Class of 2010 recruits have arrived early to take advantage of rules permitting them to take a summer school class or two prior to fall camp. That surely helps them get a solid academic footing, and also gives strength coach Corey Edmond a piece of their days in the next six weeks before camp opens Aug. 5. Some of these guys are BIG, and quickly pass any eye test. We can't wait for the start of camp! And, of course, get your tickets here.
PROMOTE US ON FACEBOOK
I received a message from a Wildcat fan named Gordon Zaft who had a great idea of how to promote Arizona Athletics on Facebook. In addition to wearing our colors on Fridays, we are now going to encourage all our fans with a Facebook account to make this image as their profile picture every Friday (or on an important game day). Help us spread the word.
Director of Athletics
University of Arizona