Aug. 12, 2003
Thank you for all the questions and suggestions for the "Ask Mike" page on utsports.com. We cover a variety of topics in this month's feature and I appricate the repsonse. Below are the answers to the questions selected this month.
Thank you for the tremendous response and Go Vols!
Mike, first of all I'd like to congratulate you on becoming the new Athletic
Director. In regards to the discussions with the University of Memphis about
playing them or not playing them in football/basketball, etc: May I suggest
that UT go ahead and cancel the football series, as well as the basketball
series. Playing the UM in football does UT no good. If we win, so what, we
were supposed to. If we lose, it's the upset of the year. I think that our
football program gets enough media exposure in Memphis throughout the year
that playing in Memphis once every 2 years has a negligible impact on UT's
image in this city. And in
lieu of playing Memphis in basketball, where we probably do need all the exposure
we can get (especially for recruiting purposes), why not schedule a game with
Louisville, or Arkansas, or Ole Miss (or a tournament with all 4 teams), in
the Pyramid every year? That would get just as much, if not more, media interest
than playing UM, and I'm sure a corporation would be happy to sponsor a
sure sellout. It would also increase UT's statewide appeal, much the way playing
Wyoming(football) and MTSU (basketball)in Nashville. My concern is that Mr.
Calipari, the UM basketball coach, has nothing but his own program's interests
in mind (as to be expected) when he proposes ending the home-and-home series
and playing every year in Nashville. Instead, I think what's best for the UTAD
is to not play Memphis, but to play in Memphis. I believe that my ideas about
rescheduling in football, and playing other regional teams in an annual basketball
game(s) would make the entire UTAD better off. Thank you, and once again congratulations.
Jason, thanks for your email. It is ironic that you wrote to discuss our series with the University of Memphis. We are in discussions at this time on whether or not to continue this particular series and will be making a decision in the next couple of weeks. Like you, I do feel that if we are not going to play them in basketball, we certainly shouldn't play them in football. Look forward to the possibility of announcement regarding this over the next couple of weeks. Unless there is a change in how Memphis feels about the series, I feel there is the possibility we may be moving on to do something different.
What are the possibilities of playing an annual football game versus
the Virginia Tech Hokies at the Bristol Motor Speedway (160,000+ seating
venue). I can only
imagine the enormous attention the media would give to such a game between
two top college football programs. This would be a terrific site for an annual
Hokie-Smokey clash! Thanks for taking our questions.
Mike Hamilton: Jared, thank you for your question about the Vols playing at Bristol Motor Speedway. As you know, we have had several discussions about this over the past several years and I am personally good friends with Jeff Byrd and Logan McCabe at the Speedway. I do not know that a game against Virginia Tech could be worked out at this time, especially with their entry into the ACC. Our philosophy has been that we do not want to lose a home game in Knoxville but would consider at least listening to the possibility of playing an opponent where we were previously scheduled to play an away game. Thanks for your question and have a great fall.
Being a Tennessee boy up here in the great white north, all I here
about is Michigan football. Would it be possible to play them during the
regular season in the future? Go Vols.
Mike Hamilton: Duane, thank you for your email. The philosophy in the past has been to not play Big 10 opponents during the year as the SEC has bowl match-ups against Big 10 opponents each year with the Outback Bowl in Tampa and the Capital One Bowl in Orlando. However, as we begin to schedule for the 2011-2012 season and the seasons beyond, we will be looking at all possibilities.
Mike, congratulations on the new job! Would you consider getting out of the
adidas contract and going with Nike? Nike makes nicer college merchandise and
I believe UT could increase merchandising revenue if our stuff looked better.
Mike Hamilton: Travis, thanks for your question about the adidas contract. We are currently under contract with adidas through the summer of 2005 and have been very pleased with their service and attention to our program. As you noted, Nike is now licensed to produce Tennessee merchandise for sale in stores; and when our current contract expires, we will pursue the best option for the University.
What do you think can be done to the Thompson Boling Arena to make it more
Mike Hamilton: We actually have hired a firm to do a feasibility study on the arena to discuss among other things a basketball practice facility, potential fašade changes, seating configuration considerations and numerous other areas for review in terms of fan comfort.
Sir, My husband and I are die hard Vol fans and are very excited about
the direction you are taking the program. We have one question: when will
a NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Program into effect? Thanks. Jennifer
Los Angeles, Calif.
Mike Hamilton: Jennifer, we appreciate your support all the way out in Los Angeles. We are considering adding Division I men's soccer in the near future pending the appropriate revenue. Whenever you add a new sport at the Division I level, and try to compete for a national championship as we do at The University of Tennessee, the sport generally costs between $500,000 and $1,000,000 per year. As we re-evaluate our budgets and expense controls over the next 12 months and look forward toward potential revenue flow, I hope that we can add soccer by 2005 or 2006.
Nice touch on the checkerboards at the baselines but get rid of the hideous
block letters at center court. Bring back the great state logo that has so
much tradition! Thanks.
Mike Hamilton: Brent, thanks for your compliments on the checkerboards at the baselines in Thompson Boling Arena. The reason we have added the block letters "Tennessee" at center court is primarily for recruiting purposes. As we surveyed potential prospects coming in, we found that they did not recognize the shape of the state of Tennessee. Therefore, we decided to put the word on the court. When they see Tennessee playing on television, they can immediately recognize it as the University of Tennessee basketball arena. Thanks for your support of Tennessee athletics.