March 27, 2013
Rice Owl Fans,
Thank you to those who submitted questions recently. I encourage you to continue sending me messages through the "Ask the AD" portal. As we get into further into the spring season, I look forward to sharing my insight and feedback with you. Thank you for your support of our Rice Scholar-Athletes.
Rick Greenspan, Rice Director of Athletics
Can Rice Athletics do anything to assist with the loss of parking locations for baseball games now that the new Glasscock School is under construction?
We have looked a variety of options, including adding another shuttle bus from the outer parking lots but with the traffic pattern, it's not conducive, and another drop-off zone would clog-up traffic. We appreciate your patience with this matter.
Any updates on the changes to football playing members within Conference USA roster for 2013?
There will be some changes to the Conference USA football line-up in 2013. SMU, Houston, Memphis and Central Florida will be replaced by Louisiana Tech, North Texas, UT-San Antonio, Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic and Florida International. Rice will play Houston in a non-conference game on September 21 in Reliant Stadium.
Any possibility of Rice joining the Big 12 Conference?
Conference realignment is an ever-changing, fluid environment that I personally monitor and invest time in on a daily basis. Many of our fans have expressed interest in Rice reuniting with the schools in the Southwest Conference by exploring membership in the Big 12. We are working diligently to position Rice for future conference shifts which in today's world of collegiate athletics are inevitable. The reputation of our university and our academic standing is among the nation's finest and we are located in the fourth largest television market in the country. Both of these factors serve us well. We have a good deal of work to do, including building and improving facilities and growing our season ticket and donor bases to make us a stronger member of Conference USA and to position us for the future.
Who amongst the C-USA newcomers next year field baseball teams?
Rice, along with current C-USA members UAB, Marshall and Southern Mississippi will be joined by new baseball playing members Charlotte, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and UTSA for the 2013 season. New member North Texas does not currently offer baseball, along with current members Tulsa and UTEP. We will continue to play a challenging non-conference slate with aspirations of putting ourselves in position to host regionals and super regionals.
I have always enjoyed following the Owls baseball games on the radio. Since Rice no longer has a radio station, will you be broadcasting the baseball games on radio? I can't access the internet broadcast while driving.
We will not be airing games on the radio. In respect to listening to games in your car, we have received feedback from many of our fans who pick up the game on their smart phone and listen to the game through their device's speakers while driving.
I've heard that the University is not supportive of football or athletics, is this true?
I don't think anything could be further from the truth. The Board of Trustees, the University Leadership, including the President, and the Athletic Department are on the same page in regards to the future of Rice Athletics, and the goal of being successful at the Division I-A level. The President has been supportive in an effort to raise money for the football facility and tennis complex. Multiple members of the Board of Trustees have connected with potential donors and supporters to challenge them in assisting with fundraising endeavors. Our Owl Club Staff works in conjunction with the University Development (fundraising) Office to maximize resources, while the athletic marketing and sports information department shares collaborative ideas with their counterparts on the University side. Simply put, the University is extremely supportive and understands the importance of a successful department.
What would be the next facility project after the tennis facility and football endzone complex are completed?
At this moment, our top two facility projects are the Scholar-Athlete Development Center and Tennis Complex. We are actively fundraising for both of those projects. Next in line would be improvements to the Rice Track and Soccer Stadium. While the soccer field and track are both in competitive shape, the grandstands and press box need some work. Ideally, we would also offer locker room space for the teams that use the facility. Another point of focus moving forward is a facilities maintenance endowment, established for the upkeep of the all the facilities on a year-to-year basis.
With the tennis stadium being moved to another site on campus, what would happen to the current land the courts are on?
The University will determine the use of the land where the current Jake Hess Tennis Courts is located.
Editor's Note: We received two questions regarding Title IX:
Has Rice considered adding a women's golf or softball program?
Title IX recently turned forty. Where does Rice stand with regard to compliance? Will Rice need to add a new sport or replace an existing sport in order to increase the number of participants in women's athletics? Are any particular sports being considered?
Rice Athletics hired an outside consultant a year ago to assess the areas of compliance that are identified with Title IX. Since then, President Leebron has formed a Title IX Gender Equity committee that consists of faculty and staff on campus to review the report and make recommendations to him, including the potential addition of sports. We are currently working through this process.
What was the design, review and approval process that ended up with the new Sammy mascot?
A committee was formed consisting of alumni, donors, students, cheerleaders and past Sammy's. The group went through three-rounds of mock-up designs and proofs. The committee did not want to stray too far from the former Sammy with the ultimate goals of giving him more brawn and keep him child-friendly at the same time.