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April 9, 2012

In the past several months, I have had the chance to visit with many of our loyal alumni, fans and supporters in Houston and around Texas. During that time, the following questions continue to be referenced and I wanted to take this opportunity to answer them for you as well as address the recent announcement regarding the move of the UCLA game to Thursday, August 30. In the future, you may continue to send me a question. I remain focused on taking the pulse of our constituent base and sharing the feedback with you. Thank you for your support of the Rice Scholar-Athletes

Rick Greenspan, Rice Director of Athletics

What are the next steps for the department following the Athletic Forum (January - 2012)?

Many units within the Rice Athletics Department are collaborating on a strategic concept to make the vision and goals a reality. The one-year, two-year and three-year plan will set benchmarks that are measurable and attainable. These will lay the groundwork for long-term programmatic success within the department. As we continue to work on this task, we will share periodic updates on the progress.

What is going to happen to the long-standing football series with the University of Houston now that they leaving Conference USA?

We are working with University of Houston to maintain this historic rivalry beyond this year. The 2012 game will benefit from the marketing power and resources that Long Star Sports bring to the table and gives us a tremendous opportunity impact a wider audience while also gaining additional revenue. A national audience will tune in to Fox Sports Network as well, making this a great showcase on all fronts for Rice Football and one that we fully expect not be the end of a great series, but the dawning of a new chapter.

Why was the UCLA game moved to a Thursday night, and is it true that it will also be moving to Reliant Stadium?

To answer the second question first, no. The UCLA game will be our season opener and be played at Rice Stadium. The decision to move the game to Thursday night was made by one of our conference's television partners. While we would normally do everything possible to avoid a Thursday night game at home during the season, we felt that the Thursday leading into the Labor Day weekend was an exception to that thinking. I know that many of our students make plans to leave campus for at least part of that weekend, and we felt that a Thursday night game would allow them to attend the game as well as follow through with any other plans. The same with our fans who might have had schedule conflicts. I know the move impacts some of our fans who come in from out of town who are now faced with scheduling challenges, but when looking at the overall picture, we felt this was a best case for us and we hope that by getting the information out as quickly as possible, travel plans can be adjusted and those fans can still join us. We look at this game as a opportunity to engage some of our promotional partners to create a very special event that resonates with sports fans throughout the area.

How can I gain more information on the football or tennis project?

The Rice Athletic Development Staff has just launched a web site that houses specifics for both projects, as well as overall athletics giving information. Any questions can also be directed to David Biancamano, Director of Athletic Development, at 713-348-3561 or david.j.biancamano@rice.edu regarding either project.

Can you provide an update on conference realignment?

At the moment, I can share that I've been involved at many levels with the Conference USA Staff, as well as taking significant time with Commissioner Britton Banowsky. The group has some key benchmarks it's working to reach in the next 60 days including membership, scheduling, marketing and media rights and overall branding. This new league will be an exciting step for Rice Athletics. As more information becomes available, I will be sure to share it with you.

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