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Oct. 20, 2010

Rice Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan welcomes your questions about Rice Athletic and will answer them online on a regular basis. If you'd like to submit a question in the future, please go to our online form and submit your question

What is the non-conference schedule for the 2011 season?

Roman,

Our 2011 schedule is not finalized and with the recent realignment some conferences are attempting to move non-conference games. We currently have at Texas, at Baylor, at Northwestern and Purdue at home to date but there is a possibility this could change.

What are your plans for minimizing the physical and emotional risk in all athletics activities?

Jorge,

I am not sure I completely understand the question. I will say that the welfare of our student-athletes is of paramount concern and our number one priority. We employ trained professionals in these areas to not only minimize potential risk but to enhance our student-athletes collegiate experience and to position them to be successfully competitively and academically.

I am wondering what the direction of Rice Athletics re: facilities, fundraising, marketing, etc.?

Bob,

During my six months at Rice I can tell you that I am honored to represent such an outstanding, world class University and our student-athletes who are second to none. Generally, I think it's critical in plotting the direction of Rice Athletics that everything centers around putting our student-athletes in the best position possible to compete at the highest level of Division I athletics and to make sure that success and viability is consistent and sustained over time. Since this answer is very broad for the sake of brevity, I offer the following in regard to direction of the program that touch on the items you notated in your question:

In respect to marketing our programs and the Rice brand, we really need to increase our reach and we are simply not where we need to be at this point. We have made sound initial strides - our new Senior Executive Director of Athletics has 11 years of experience as Director of Athletics and has spent most of his 31 years in External Relations. We felt it was important to have one point person that oversees everything that interfaces with the public (fund raising, media relations, marketing. Licensing, etc.). Additionally, we were able to secure a weekly television show which reaches 23 million homes, a weekly radio show on a 50,000-watt station in Houston and through some good work with our licensing partner and have placed Rice gear in Wal-Mart and other retail outlets in the Houston area. This is only a start.

In the future, we will work enhance and improve our mass media reach to the degree financially possible (advertising is very expensive in a major market like Houston) and place more emphasis on grassroots marketing efforts. In respect to fund raising, it is evident that we have to place more emphasis on our annual fund raising efforts (Owl Club) in order to increase revenue that we can depend on for our budget year in and year out. Facilities have become very important in collegiate athletics in respect to both recruiting and to meet the training needs today's student-athlete. The previous administration and donors of Rice Athletics made a significant impact in this area with the renovation of Tudor Fieldhouse. We still have areas of need in respect to locker rooms and training facilities in some of our sports and we will continue to work toward addressing these issues.

If given the choice of renovating Rice Stadium or building a brand new, smaller stadium, what would be your preference?

Mark and Russell,

I look at our current situation with the stadium in two areas - one, the facility that in essence serves as the "classroom" for student-athletes when they are engaged in their football activities and the other is the infrastructure and amenities that impact our fans six time a year. The number one priority is to the facility which houses our student-athletes which has to be addressed in some fashion in the relatively near future. In respect to the stadium, this process will be an on-going evaluation; however, my initial response is to make Rice stadium work. It's a beautiful stadium with great sight lines but more importantly it's a integral part of our tradition. Speaking practically, in these economic times combined with the other needs and priorities we have in the program, a new stadium is not the best use of our energy and resources at this time.

When can we hope to hear some positive news coming out Rice Athletics?

Brady,

I think we have had a good amount of positive news recently dating back to this summer. Sophomore Anthony Rendon won the equivalent of collegiate baseball's Heisman Trophy when he was named winner of the Dick Howser Trophy. We launched a weekly television on FoxSports which through its affiliates will reach nearly 23 million homes. Our soccer and volleyball teams are in contention for conference championships. Rice Athletics once again earned the highest honor for academic achievement in Conference USA and have every year we have been in the league....and, as well all know, it was a proud day for Rice Owls everywhere when our football team reclaimed the Bayou Bucket with a 34-31 win over Houston.

When is construction for the end zone facility for the football stadium going to start? Will there be an online plan released?

Toby,

Even though a football facility has be targeted as an area of need, there is no facility project on the books at this time.

Why do we no longer allow kids to sing "take me out to the ballgame" for the 7th inning stretch for every game, now it's only on Sunday. Also, kids used to be able to go down on the field after football games and get players autographs. Now they can't do that. Why not?

Wayne,

While I am not in a position to address why something was eliminated years ago, I can tell you that we had to eliminate the practice of having spectators go down on the field until the opposing team has left the field in accordance with conference rules and the potentially liability involved in the event there were an incident. Once the opposing team leaves the field, we welcome fans to come down on the field, in fact, this past week, I received a very nice photo from a fan who's grandson took a picture with one of our student-athletes with his helmet on.

What happened to M.K. Bower? I miss him on Riceowls.com.

Jim,

We made the decision to forgo a position in our media relations department in exchange for one that had more direct involvement with programmatic issues involving student-athletes. Mr. Bower is an excellent writer and journalist and we are pleased that he is still involved in Rice Athletics through his work with FoxSportsHouston.com.

I was wondering if I could watch the full broadcast of the Rice-East Carolina baseball game. I have been looking for it everywhere and I still can't find it.

Joshua,

That game was telecast by CBS College Sports and it is their property. You can try contacting them, but usually broadcast companies do not release games due to copyright policies.

I am interest in getting involved in Athletic Training, how do you I learn more about opportunities at Rice?

Ben and Tamlynn,

Please contact our Head Athletic Trainer Dawn Stuckey at dstuckey@rice.edu.

I was sitting behind the Rice bench and saw you on the sideline. I am not sure I have ever noticed an AD on the sidelines. Is this a new trend or just my way. With a win like Saturday, please stay there.

Gene,

It is just my way and it's something that I have always done. The most enjoyable part of my job is being around the student-athletes. Football is a sport conducive to being on the sidelines. It provides me an opportunity to support the student-athletes and being able to focus on the game.

I have gotten season tickets on and off for the past 15 years and this year I opted for the family plan and the seats are right in the middle of the visitor section. Why?

Michael, This should not be. I checked with our ticket office and your seats were assigned incorrectly. Our ticket manager Marc Laney will be contacting you. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We very much appreciate your support of Rice Athletics.

How do you get in touch with a coach to tell them that you would like to play for them?

Eriana,

The NCAA has rules as it relates to recruiting and when coaches can contact student-athletes. On our website under "Staff Directory", it lists all of our head coaches. Please email the coach of the sport you are interested in and let them know of your interest. Please make sure to list your name, year in school, hometown and the name of your high school. Someone will get back with you.

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