April 14, 2014
Things are hopping on the Hilltop! Among the many memorable moments of the past few weeks were a men's basketball NIT runner-up finish, our first post-season women's basketball win since 2000 and a new scoring champion (congrats, Keena!), an indoor track & field championship, a top-20 NCAA women's swimming result and a runner-up finish for our men's swim team at The American Championships. (A note of thanks to those in attendance for the NIT and WNIT home games as well as the NIT games in New York City! The Mustang Nation was noticeably present in the Big Apple and at Madison Square Garden!) We continue to be encouraged by the competitiveness of our teams in this inaugural season in the American!
Here are some links to those news stories and more:
Nationally, the collegiate model is being debated on several fronts. NCAA Reform and student-athlete unionization are among the hottest topics. Although it represents uncertainty, many of the developments included as part of the Reform proposals are encouraging. I have spent a lot of time talking to colleagues and reading about the various perspectives on the potential ramifications of classifying student-athletes as employees. There are conflicting views regarding the intended and unintended consequences of such action. I tend to believe that everyone (including the student-athletes) is best served to find a different way to address any real concerns which may exist. Once thing appears clear - change is inevitable. Through it all, our focus remains on preparing SMU students for life and becoming more nationally competitive in all that we do.
And now, on to the mailbag...
Jensen (Dallas): Great job this year and great in-game presentation! Is there any way to get the whole lower section of the South Side (plus Baselines) of Moody earmarked to students (much like Cameron)? The students have been raucous and entertaining but some of that Moody Magic doesn't translate to TV as well as you'd think. I had to miss one of the big home games and on TV, it looks disappointing to see the group behind both benches sitting while the baseline and center-court, lower-bowl fans are standing, loud and raucous.
Answer: Thanks for your support, Jensen! At this time, we do not plan to expand the student section at Moody to include the entire south stands. Per American Conference policy, the first two rows directly behind the visiting team are reserved for their use. It further requires that "Dedicated home student section seating areas may not be located directly behind the visiting team bench and 40 complimentary visiting team seats. Student seating areas must be at least one section removed from the visiting team bench area." SMU season ticket holders will continue to fill the upper rows to provide a "buffer" for the visiting team and their fans. The area directly behind the home team bench is reserved for their families and guests. We are pleased with the response from our students and look forward to working with them to review and improve our existing practices. As far as television goes, we have received excellent feedback on the arena and atmosphere from viewers across the country.
Phillip (Houston): I read that the AAC was considering Atlantic City as a site for the basketball tournament in the future. Any idea where future tournaments will be played?
Answer: Several host sites are currently being considered for future American Athletic Conference men's basketball tournaments. As you might expect, there is a great deal of interest. Earlier today, it was announced that the 2015 event would be held in Hartford, Connecticut, at the XL Center, and we think more cities will be in the mix in coming seasons. Stay tuned!
Go Mustangs and Pony Up!
Rick Hart, Director of Athletics