Straight From The Hart
Nov. 28, 2013
This week(end) we get to celebrate our blessings, spend time with family, eat aggressively and watch football (and basketball). Life is good! I am already looking forward to leftovers. Pass the gravy!
Two more fall sports have concluded their seasons: cross country finished 31st at the NCAA Championships and volleyball finished second in the American behind an undefeated Louisville squad. The football team improved to 4-2 in the American, and a win tomorrow at Houston would secure a fifth-consecutive bowl berth for the Mustangs and provide continued momentum leading up to the regular season finale against UCF on December 7 at Ford Stadium. (More on that game later.) Women's basketball is off to a red-hot start at 6-0 and the men's basketball team sits at 5-1 - a loss at Arkansas the only blemish on our record.
If you are looking for "Black Friday" bargains, I recommend our men's basketball "Black Friday 4-Pack" which includes a ticket to each of our Saturday games at the newly-renovated Moody Coliseum. Tickets are going fast! A full list of ticket packages for men's and women's basketball can be found here.
And now, on to the mailbag and updates on the issues that are most important to you...
Grant (via e-mail): Will the game time for SMU vs. Hofstra be moved or will it conflict with the SMU vs. UCF game as is currently schedules?
Answer: The SMU-Hofstra basketball game contract was signed in the spring of 2012, with a specific return date of Saturday, December 7. Attempts to identify an alternate date were unsuccessful, and facility restrictions limited the available game time options. The Hofstra game in Frisco was not included in the price of the men's basketball season ticket package in anticipation of a possible conflict with the UCF football game.
The UCF football game will be a big one for our campus. It is senior day on the Hilltop. UCF brings a nationally-ranked and potentially BCS-bowl-bound team to Dallas. The game will air on ESPN at 11 a.m. Central time, which means a national television audience will tune in immediately following ESPN GameDay. We want to show the country what SMU football is all about, so we encourage fans to make their way to their seats prior to kick-off next Saturday.
Moving forward, we will attempt to avoid scheduling men's or women's basketball home games on Saturdays in November and early December to minimize overlaps. The conflict this year is unfortunate, but we will do our best to make it a great day for SMU.
Chris (via Twitter): Have you considered creating standing-room-only "rowdy" sections in Ford and Moody?
Answer: Currently, there are designated sections for students and young alumni. These areas tend to be more active during games. When Moody reopens, students will occupy 49% of the seats surrounding the court; and we expect that they will stand and be "rowdy" throughout the men's basketball games. Regardless of the designation, we encourage all fans to passionately cheer on our Mustang teams while remaining respectful of those seated nearby.
Uniform Designs (multiple via Twitter)
Response: I have already covered this topic in previous columns, but chose to address it again today in recognition of the enthusiasm surrounding our uniforms and, in particular, possible future combinations and designs. First of all, the concepts presented look sharp - great work! We will continue to experiment with various looks while remaining true to our heritage. This season, we have debuted a blue "Pony Express" jersey and Jerry LeVias-era red helmet. Tentatively, we are considering the look of the new blue jersey as our standard design with red and white versions for next season. Also, we hope to add a second pair of pants. Expect to continue to see different helmet combinations, especially if the new technology we are using expands. In fact, we are working on a new look for the UCF game right now... stay tuned. We realize that this trend is important to a number of constituent groups - and it's fun! Thanks for your interest, ideas and support.
As is tradition this time of year, I would like to take a moment to reflect on and share the things for which I am most thankful.
I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue my passion and work at a great institution, for and alongside servant leaders dedicated to learning, integrity and excellence.
I am thankful for being in a position to impact people's lives through college athletics and serve those less fortunate.
I am thankful for the support of the SMU community - without which the fulfillment of our mission would not be possible.
I am thankful for our students and the daily inspiration they provide to be my best.
I am thankful for good books and funny movies.
Above all else, I am thankful for my friends and family, for our memories and our health.
I am truly blessed and grateful for the gifts in my life. On behalf of our entire program, Happy Thanksgiving!
Go Mustangs and Pony Up!
Rick Hart, Director of Athletics