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May 30, 2012

Ask the AD Archive

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. I will remain focused on sharing answers and feedback with you. Thank you for your support of our Rice Scholar-Athletes.

Rick Greenspan, Rice Director of Athletics

I saw on the season ticket material that the Roost at the football stadium is going to be in the upper deck on the home side. How will that be set up? Will benches be removed to create space or will some other method be used?
The popularity of the original area for The Roost made it imperative that we look at a larger space. We wanted to expand and upgrade the area where beer would be available. After considering several options, we felt the ideal location to accomplish this goal was the East Upper Deck. This will allow fans to enjoy a beer without having to stand, since seating areas 355-357, beginning with the 9th row, are reserved for Roost patrons. Fans will be able to enjoy their favorite beverage with a much better view of the game, plus a view of the scoreboard. The serving areas will be in the shade under the East Deck, which addresses another issue that fans have raised in the past. One of concession partners, Prince's Hamburgers, will serve the Roost with similar stadium fair as they have offered in the past. We think this is an exciting upgrade over what we have offered in the past, and we will continue to study suggestions on further upgrades in the future.

Is there any plans to have a tailgate area at the stadium for football next year?
Our marketing team has been working with Bud Light to enhance our tailgating area on the east side of the stadium. This interactive fan experience will include a beer garden, a stage for live music and a food station. We are also looking to create "College Row" where each college will have a tailgating zone for both current members of each college and their alumni. We plan to hold contests for each game to encourage participation and student attendance. We are looking to create a vibrant area for our fans that will also be an attractive area for our sponsors to interact with fans, enhancing the value of their partnerships with Rice Athletics.
We believe that the unique nature of the season opener with UCLA, coming on a Thursday night and kicking off the Labor Day weekend, presents us with an exciting opportunity to launch this area.

Why did we change the stadium improvement concept from a north end zone facility to a free standing facility on the south side? Seems the end zone facility makes more sense aesthetically, is in line with what other schools are doing to their stadiums, and is closer to the grass practice field from the player's dressing room.
As you mentioned, we studied a variety of options when looking at the facilities needs at Rice Stadium. After much site evaluation, it was determined that the best solution to address the most pressing need was to create a stand-alone facility in the South End Zone. This option allows us to reinvest on that portion of the stadium where the current football facilities stand. This includes electrical and mechanical work, along with accessibility improvements. Our primary objective with stadium enhancement is to improve the area where the scholar-athletes directly impacted. While this facility is near the football stadium it will be utilized by all our scholar-athletes and the location will be most accessible.

I received a numeral as a freshman football team member in 1967. After starting as a tight end my freshman year, I was on the football team as a squad man/scout team member at various positions. I graduated in 1971. I've always been curious if a freshman numeral (Class of 1971) made one a letterman.
I can't speak to what the requirements were in order to receive a letter at that time, but I am certain that those thresholds have changed over time. I do know that the R Association (Rice Athletics Letterwinner Association) now recognizes anyone who played a sport - whether they received a letter or not. Many dedicated men and women have participated in athletics at Rice but did not see varsity action for any number of reasons. That does not diminish the commitment or sacrifice that each of you made as a member of a team. You are a Rice Owl. I encourage you and others who are in a similar situation but assumed you were not eligible for membership to contact R Association Executive Director Don Knodel at 713-348-6915

Will Elizabeth Schmidt, the Women's Tennis coach, get a significant pay increase as a result of her success? We do not want to lose her.
I agree 100%, we want to keep Coach Schmidt at Rice for a long time. While I will not publically address coaching salaries, we will do everything we can to keep Coach Schmidt as our head coach. The women's team will return all but one of the players who made their first appearance in the Sweet 16 and once we break ground on the new tennis facility before the end of the year, the future of Rice Women's Tennis is very bright.

We seem to excel in certain sports but the marquee sports have not sustained excellence. It is possible to excel both academically and athletically?
Yes, it is possible and that is the goal of Rice Athletics. We have historically been near the top for NCAA graduation rates and have displayed excellence in the classroom with Conference USA accolades, as well as national honors. We strive to have the same distinction on the field or arena as we do in the classroom. This however will require us to overcome some challenges - including increasing the funding of the program through philanthropy, ticket sales and brand growth, creating top-notch facilities for all our scholar-athletes and the overall vision to make these a reality. We continue to work at putting our teams in position to be successful with areas of increased resources.

Who has been the official scorer at games at Reckling this season?
We have had the same official scorer since the 2007 season; he is a member of the athletic department communications staff.

I'm a 1972 graduate and three-year football letter winner. Anything planned for Homecoming to recognize 40 year anniversary?
The Homecoming game this year against UTSA will be part of our Centennial Celebration Weekend - October 10-14. We are working collaboratively with the Alumni Association, Centennial Team and Public Affairs to maximize efforts that weekend. While I don't know specifically if we will have a '72 reunion, we will honor all letterwinners in attendance that weekend, not solely football players. We will announce specifics as we get closer but keep an eye out for save the date announcements for that weekend.

Both of my sons bleed "Rice Blue", and happen to be excellent athletes. However, they attend a Division 1A High School. Does Rice Athletics ever look at Texas Division 1A High Schools for recruiting athletes? And how would my boys be more visible for recruiting purposes? Our family is anxiously awaiting your input. Thanks.
Rice has football players from many different divisions. We aspire to have the best scholar-athletes, regardless of high school division. I would suggest you attend one of the Coach Bailiff's Summer Camps or contact Billy Lynch, Rice Recruiting Coordinator, for more information on the program.

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