July 12, 2004
Thank you for your continued interest and your response to the "Ask Mike" feature
on utsports.com. I appreciate all the comments, questions and suggestions.
Just a comment-and not even a complaint! I am a UT grad-class of 75, UT Law-class
of 78, and not a season ticket holder but long time fan of 40 years. I read
with interest a Nashville Tennessean article about the UNLV game possibly being
a Sunday evening ESPN game. This of course would be exciting but what caught
my interest was the comment, attributed to you, that if the game were on Saturday
it would have to be in the afternoon to be on TV and we wanted to get back to
having the early season games at night. I completely agree that early September
home games should be at night-but why cow tow to TV all the time? Why not just
schedule the 1st game for Saturday at 7 pm and be done with it? At a time when
ticket prices and donations are in the news (and I have no problem with either-if
I want tickets I pay the price), I think I would worry more about your ticket
paying customer base than TV audience. As a UT fan and a supporter of the TEAM
I would rather listen to a game on Saturday night than watch the team sweat
in a TV game in the sweltering heat in the afternoon. As for Sunday night, it
might be a treat but it sets a bad precedent in my opinion. Why not just schedule
the game for Saturday night and for ONCE not worry about TV? Just my thoughts-hope
you are doing well and keep up the good work.
Mike Hamilton: Hi Mark,
Thanks for your e-mail. I appreciate your comments.
The University of Tennessee has a broad, far-reaching fan base, so whenever possible we like to schedule games that can be shown on television for our fans in other parts of the country. We prefer nationally-televised games over pay-per-view to minimize the cost to our fans as much as possible.
This year's game will be Tennessee's fifth playing date on a Sunday. Tennessee's most recent Sunday appearance was a Jan. 2, 2000, matchup against Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl. The Vols also met Wisconsin in the Garden State Bowl, defeating the Badgers Sunday, Dec. 13, 1981, at the Meadowlands. Two regular season games also have been played on Sunday. UT defeated Iowa Aug. 30, 1987, in the Kickoff Classic -- again, at the Meadowlands -- and tied Colorado Aug. 26, 1990, at the Pigskin Classic in Anaheim, Calif. The Vols have played regular season games twice on the road on Thursdays, in the 1991 opener against Louisville (Sept. 5) and in 1996 against Mississippi in Memphis (Oct. 3).
Thanks for your support of Tennessee athletics.
Mike, You have been kind enough to acknowledge our questions and sent replies
that have addressed our concerns. I am asking about the conversation regarding
changing the starting date for the opening football game against UNLV. There
seems to be some objection to changing this game fron its original schedule.
Many people travel great distances and make plans to stay overnight for the
games. In my opinion, to move the game to a Sunday night puts many people on
the highway the next day. This happens to be Labor Day weekend and it would
not seem a wise move to switch the date. Also, another issue of somewhat lesser
importance but one that concerns me, is the discussion of having the Vols wearing
what amounts to be a road uniform for this home opener. Years ago, since Tennessee
was not allowed to wear orange jerseys on the road, during Holloway's era, they
improvised and wore orange across the top of the jersey. Why is this necessary?
I can say that teams that try "gimmicks" are usually those struggling
to win, to stir up an extra edge. I have noticed over the years that in most
cases, gimmicks do not work, and it's a sign of struggling programs, such as
toying with changing traditions such as the well known Vol uniform. Just my
thoughts, some I believe are shared by a lot of other fans. What do you think?
Mike Hamilton: Hi Edwin,
It's good to hear from you again.
I'm sure you have probably already heard, but earlier today we announced that we are partnering with the city of Knoxville to create a weekend-long celebration this Labor Day. The city's annual Boomsday extravaganza will kick the weekend off on Saturday, Sept. 4, with more than 300,000 people expected to attend. On Sunday, Sept. 5, we will host UNLV in our season opener before a national audience on ESPN2 beginning at 8 p.m. EST. We believe this is a great opportunity for both the city and the university. This year's game will be Tennessee's fifth playing date on a Sunday.
Please know that a lot of thought went into this decision. In the end, we felt like this was the best decision for the city of Knoxville, our program and our fans.
Many fans raised concerns about the game time temperature at last year's season opener. We wanted a night game to ensure our fans did not have to sit out in sweltering temperatures. The only other opportunity we had for a televised game without going to pay-per-view (which would possibly have paid us more than the ESPN game) was a mid-afternoon kickoff on Saturday. Tennessee has a broad, far-reaching fan base, and we try to find opportunities to televise our games for these fans whenever possible.
This game will also be our Football Lettermen Reunion Weekend. We have more than 300 football players attending the game. With no NFL or college football games in the Sunday night time slot, this is a great way to honor the tradition of Tennessee football in the national spotlight as we pay tribute to the great players that laid the foundation for our program.
I understand that a Sunday game does have a couple of disadvantages, the first being that many of our fans have religious services on Sunday. I hope that the 8 p.m. kickoff will minimize the impact on those services. I also know that many of our fans have already made travel arrangements, and I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
You mentioned the retro jerseys we will be wearing for the Lettermen's game. This is not meant to be a gimmick, but rather a special one-time only opportunity to pay tribute to the tradition of Tennessee football.
Thank you for your continued support of Tennessee athletics.
I love the Tennessee baseball team and I am a student at UT but I go home by
the time the postseason starts and because Tennessee is one of just two SEC
teams to not have free radio for their baseball games I had to put down money
and may only get to listen to two games depending on how the team goes. Why
do you not offer free radio for the baseball games, it would help broaden the
fan base which barely reaches outside the Knoxville area as it stands. Thank
you for your time and I anticipate your response.
Mike Hamilton: Hi Scott,
Thanks for your e-mail and your support of the baseball team.
You raise a good question. Host Communications handles our rights. They have an agreement to stream our audio with Yahoo. In recent years Yahoo has been providing the service for free. This year they began charging for the costs, and Host was not in a position to have to cover those costs. They elected to make this a pay service like many other schools have done around the nation. After talking with Host and other schools in the conference, we anticipate many other schools will have to do it next year. I hope this answers your question.