Thursday, May 31, 2007

You Say "Goodbye" & I Say "Hello"

by Vicki Hill, Director of the A-LEC

One of the great things about this job is that you don’t have time to reflect on how much you will miss the students who are graduating (that may hit home the first time I don’t see Justin Rogers lining up on defense - well, unless I’m watching the NFL) because you are too busy getting ready for the new ones.

The last couple of weeks have seen a flurry of activity around end-of-term-grades - Who aced almost everything? Whose consistent hard work was recognized and rewarded? Who did better than expected? And, yes, who didn’t do as well as expected?

The A-LEC was also visited last week by two C-USA reps as the first stop on a conference-wide attempt to develop a summary of best practices for academic support services. Their time on campus went well, as they visited with nearly 30 people, including student-athletes, faculty, coaches, and administrators.

But suddenly it’s the new academic year. Yesterday was the first AARO (Academic Advising, Registration & Orientation) for 2007-2008, and the A-LEC was busy. Seven men’s basketball players, two women’s basketball players, one women’s diver and several football players were on campus registering for their summer and fall classes and learning a little about what is in store for them academically. Today they will all be back to check in with us after they attend their first classes. We’ll review tutoring options, set up their regular meeting times with the academic counselors, and enjoy vicariously the genuine excitement that accompanies the whole process of starting college.

Pretty soon you’ll see all of them on fields and courts and in the pool. And we are all so glad they are here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cowboy Questions

by Steve Orsini, Dircetor of Athletics

While construction continues on new projects here on the Hilltop, one question I’ve gotten recently involves construction in Arlington. As work on the new Cowboys Stadium continues, some people have asked if we plan to play any games in “Jerry’s World,” as some media outlets are calling it. The Dallas Morning News reported in Friday’s edition that Baylor and Notre Dame are in negotiations to play there in 2012 or so, and, with my Notre Dame and Cowboys ties, I’m sure fans are wondering why we aren’t being mentioned as a possible opponent for the Fighting Irish.

Simply put, with a beautiful campus right in the heart of Dallas and a great pre-game tailgating area like the Boulevard, we want as many fans as possible to experience the gameday atmosphere here on the Hilltop. Many of you may have heard Coach Bennett say “If we can get a kid onto our campus, he’ll want to come to SMU.” We feel the same way about fans – If they come experience a gameday at SMU, they’ll want to come back. That’s why we want to play our home games in our state-of-the-art Gerald J. Ford Stadium, and to that end, we continue to work to put together an attractive home schedule featuring our regional and in-state rivals. We open 2007 with Texas Tech and North Texas at home and TCU will be back in Ford in 2008 as part of our non-conference slates. Our stadium and campus are two of our greatest “recruiting tools” and we’re going to use them.

So if you haven’t been out to a game at Ford, check it out. We know you’ll want to come back again and again. See you on September 3! Until next time, GO MUSTANGS!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rocky Mountain High? (Wasn’t John Denver from West Virginia?)

by Jeff Konya, Associate A.D. for Compliance & Student Services

Around the office, you hear that summer is “down time.” Well, in my world, it is “conference time.” Last week, I attended the NCAA Regional Seminar for Compliance in Denver, Colorado. It’s like a NCAA Rules Trekkie Convention without the weird costumes (Side note - I never got Star Trek. And I don’t get the Harry Potter of today either. Maybe I’m too fixated on reality where a Wizard School seems so freakin’ lame).

But, there we were in Denver, about 1,200 strong with free beverage coupons and three days of attending seminar after seminar. I did catch a Rockies game with about 50 of my closest friends and get this, the Rockies actually won. Coors Field must be the new witness relocation program. Anyway, the most important session to attend is the yearly update on the recently passed new rules (i.e., text messaging ban) and how that will fit within the context of other NCAA parameters. The SMU Compliance Team now has the task of making sure all SMU constituents (i.e., coaches, staff, athletes, boosters, campus folk, etc) are abreast of the changes.

Denver was just the first of many compliance related Conferences for me. June will bring the C-USA regional meetings in “Historic Las Colinas” where I am presenting a “Compliance Best Practices” discussion and the NCAS Annual Meetings in New Orleans where I have just been named a Regional Director. This is a very important distinction because I will be able to bring national issues in sports to the campus of SMU and help foster the on-campus life skills imitative for our student-athletes. In July, I am also presenting at the Annual NAACC Meetings in Austin, Texas (this is a specific association for compliance individuals). And in between, I have to fit in a wedding and honeymoon. No problem. Yeah, something about down time . . .

Finally, when I was in Denver, I got word that SMU received an NCAA award for our compliance educational efforts on the issue of gambling awareness. I love basking in the glow of accolades (I mean who doesn’t?) but I would be incredibly remiss if I did not mention the other members of the compliance staff who greatly contributed to this end. Both Broadus Whiteside and Jackie Babich have done yeomen’s work on this, and several other compliance issues, and all the while they are able to put up with my, how do I say this, “quirky” personality. I am looking forward to working with them as the 2007 academic year gets rolling.

Sad to see Happy Gilmore co-star Bob Barker leave the Price is Right. Was there a better game than Plinko?

Last Download - “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


By Brad Sutton, Assistant A.D. for Media Relations

I think we’re finally going to make it. The Media Relations Office is relocating to the Loyd Center after years and years in Moody. When I started at SMU back in 2000, rumor had it we might move into Loyd in six months. Maybe they meant six years…

All kidding aside, we’re really excited. The only problem is the move. We spent the end of last week packing everything up (archives and all) and are, for this week, homeless, so to speak. We’re flip-flopping offices with Alumni Relations, so now that we’re out, they’re boxing up & moving in. We just have to wait until they’re out, so we can get in over there. Laptops and high speed internet are amazing. Without them, this week could be lost. And with a media guide deadline approaching, I can’t take that right now! We’re working from home and can do pretty much everything we can in the office.

The new office (and furniture) will be great, but as anyone who’s ever moved knows, the only thing worse than packing is unpacking. Anybody free next week?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tour de Texas

Spring is definitely in the air on the Hilltop. We just concluded our 2007 Mustang Club Fund Drive (and did extremely well, BTW), spring football finished strong and both men’s and women’s basketball finished their recruiting classes for the 2007–08 year.

One can definitely see a “bounce in our step” around Moody Coliseum as we prepare for our 2007 Spring Coaches Tour. Director of Athletics Steve Orsini and Coaches Bennett, Doherty and Rompola will be loading up on our “Tour Bus” to travel through parts of the state of Texas.

The tour is an exciting way for the athletic department and Mustang Club to reach out and touch our fans and supporters outside the Metroplex. The SMU coaches enjoy connecting to the many faces of the “SMU Nation” and appreciate the opportunity to give “inside the program” views of their respective programs. Each stop of the tour promises loads of unique insights, laughs and good times and we look forward to seeing each of you.

The schedule for the Tour is as follows:

May 7 - Dallas
May 8 - Ft. Worth
May 22 - Austin
May 23 - San Antonio
May 24 - Houston

To RSVP or for more information on the 2007 Coaches Tour, please contact Amanda at 214-768-1319.