July 30, 2012
Dear Tiger Nation,
It's hard to believe, but we're only five weeks away from our season-opening football game. This Sept. 1st will see Mizzou host Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m. at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field. The start of football season, as well as volleyball, soccer and cross country, is such an exciting time of the year on campus. It promises to be an exciting time for the University, our program, students, faculty, staff, alums and fans!
Our transition to the Southeastern Conference continues to go very well, and is certainly still ongoing. When we celebrated our SEC announcement on November 6, 2011, we talked about several opportunities that lay ahead. We talked about the enthusiasm with which our students, staff, coaches and fans were responding. We talked about the need for ALL of us to step up to an even higher level as we entered the strongest conference in all of college athletics. We talked of the need to be patient - that the move wouldn't be immediately completed by July 1, 2012, but that it would take us until at least July 1, 2014, to really feel acclimated to our new league. Finally, we talked about changes that would be impacting our program and our University.
The last time I provided an update on a number of SEC transition matters in this type of format was Feb. 20, 2012. I thought that this would be another chance for us to update you on many matters related to the SEC transition, recognizing a number of things have occurred since my last update!
- FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS - We talked about the need for us to commit to a very high level to continue our pattern of improving facilities in and around the Sports Park. I hope you were able to see the $200 million facility improvement plans approved by our Board of Curators on June 26, 2012. The support of our leadership at Mizzou, our donors and our fans to this effort is significant. There is a lot of work being done on the design phases for football, golf, tennis, softball and baseball - you'll be seeing a LOT of construction work beginning after the 2012 season and continue for the next couple of years.
- SEASON TICKETS - Our football season ticket sales have been going great. We will sell more season football tickets for the inaugural SEC football season than we ever have in the history of Tiger Football. Our goal has been to sell 45,000+ season tickets, and we're on our way to reaching that mark, but still have work to do. Season tickets are still available, so please encourage your friends and associates to purchase season tickets for the 2012 football season. In addition, we have very aggressive goals for volleyball, soccer, men's basketball, women's basketball, softball and baseball, so stay tuned for more information to come!
- TIGER SCHOLARSHIP FUND - We're currently tracking 18 percent ahead of where we were at this point in time last year. THANK YOU for all of our Tiger Scholarship Fund members. We ask all of you to consider joining the TSF, whether it's at $50 a year, $100 a year, $250 a year - any amount can help make a difference. If you have been a TSF member in the past, and haven't yet renewed, please do so today! We have a goal of 10,000 donors and $10 million annually and we are heading in the right direction.
- UNIFORMS - Our spring unveiling of our new Nike uniforms has been extremely well received, and I hope all of you are excited to see the changes for football, soccer and volleyball soon. We have focused on "MIZZOU" and on the oval Tiger logo, because those are the marks that resonate at a high level throughout the SEC and around the country. While I know some folks will miss seeing the block M, I do hope you'll see this updated look to be a great advertising vehicle for the entire University and the State of Missouri.
- PASS OUTS - This is a reminder - there are no pass outs at our football games. For many years our fans have had the chance to enter the stadium for the start of the game, exit at some point and re-enter. That will not be possible for the 2012 season and going forward, per SEC rules. We know this will be an adjustment for some of you, and we appreciate your understanding.
- BAND - Our fans will notice that Marching Mizzou has relocated to sections CC and DD on the East side stands, which will put them together with our students. We believe this will allow for the sound to be heard much better throughout the stadium and it will give the band easier access to and from the field for performances, as well as providing greater exposure on televised games. Brad Snow, the head of Marching Mizzou, and his staff thought that this would be an improvement for his program, and we were happy to work together as a team to make this happen.
- MEN'S BASKETBALL BENCHES - Another adjustment our fans will see is the change of our benches in Men's Basketball. In the past, Mizzou's bench was directly in front of section 114 and the visiting team was in front of 116. Our move to the SEC will necessitate a change this year, as those benches will be flipped. Mizzou's bench will be in front of section 116 and the visiting team will be in front of 114. The SEC requires the visiting team to be located away from the home team students and bands, so we needed to make this change. We know this will be different for all of us, and we appreciate your understanding.
- SMOKING POLICY - We do not provide smoking areas either in or around our athletic facilities. Effective July 1, 2014, the entire University of Missouri will be "smoke free". This is a reminder that fans will not be able to exit our facilities to smoke and reenter. We appreciate your cooperation with the University's mission to create a healthier Mizzou.
So here we go heading into our new conference! What an exciting time to be a Tiger! Let's remember our Pride Points and see that we show our visiting fans our great Missouri hospitality and Tiger sportsmanship. This fall will be our first chance to make a great first impression on thousands of first-time visitors to Columbia, so let's roll out the red carpet and leave them with a lasting impression of how we do things at Mizzou:
- Wear Gold
- Be Responsible
- Arrive Early/Stay Late
- Celebrate Our Traditions
- Respect the Game
Academic Integrity, Social Responsibility and Competitive Excellence in an environment of Respect, Responsibility, Discover and Excellence. That's what we're all about at Mizzou. We're all in this together, and as Missourians and fans all over the world, we are all "One Mizzou!"
Director of Athletics