|Ask Mack | January, 2014 | Submit Questions|
One thing I have always question about UH is the lack of a Division I Men's soccer team, and I have never really received a response. Nevertheless, I enjoy the investment the University has made in the athletics program. We're gaining national recognition as a university, and Athletics is definitely playing a part. I just feel that men's soccer should be in the University's future. Seeing as that we're in a new conference with some great teams, it should be one of the next great things at UH.
Chris, while the City of Houston is known as an international soccer city, we are currently unable to offer the sport of men's soccer. One of the major components in collegiate athletics is Title IX, a much-needed act that requires equality between male and females as it relates to NCAA-sponsored sports. We have recently added women's golf to not only bolster our historic golf program but to meet Title IX requirements as well.
Adding the sport of men's soccer would require our department to add additional female sports as well, the exact number depending on roster sizes, and with our current athletic department financial forecasts, we feel we would not be providing the best student-athlete experience for our current student-athletes if their funding is divvied up into additional sport programs. As our department continues to grow and financial contributions to our program increase, it may be a topic of discussion in the future.
I was wondering if UH had any future plans to endow its athletic programs?
Endowments may be established with a minimum pledge of $25,000, payable within five years. A fully endowed scholarship is $500,000.
Our goal is to raise the necessary funds to cover the cost of all athletic scholarships. Our current commitment to the University of Houston to cover full athletic aid for fall, spring and summer sessions is $6 million. We currently fundraise $3.5 million towards this goal. If you or someone you know is interested in creating an athletic endowment, please contact Cougar Pride at 713-743-4684 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe a silly question, but is it possible you might entertain the idea of having anyone who has participated in constructing the stadium as honorary invites honored at the half or pregame for the first game? Just seems like those who actually build the stadium don't get noticed, and it might be a great opportunity to include them and their families, maybe keeping them around for support over the long haul.
Great idea Russell! There has been a committee formed with both University administration and Athletics administration to address the grand opening of the Houston Football Stadium. One of the factors the committee is looking at is how to honor all those who have been a part of constructing our new home. They will certainly be honored properly, and we will announce those plans later this year.
I'm sure you've been asked many times, but is it feasible to have our live cougar mascot in the stadium for the day of our home games? Many NCAA and even some NFL teams have appearances by live mascots, and it brings an energy to the stadium fueled by pride and compassion that nothing else in the game-day atmosphere can provide
Trevor, while we would love to have Shasta in our stadium on game days, it would not be feasible at this time. We want to provide the best possible atmosphere and environment for Shasta and in talking with many experts in the field, the best place for Shasta to be on game days is at her specially-designed enclosure at the Houston Zoo. We hope you and your family have had a chance to swing by the Houston Zoo to say hello to Shasta. There would also be a liability issue with having Shasta at our games, even if caged, that we are not comfortable with.
When is the Track facility at least going to receive a new running surface? Every fixed asset has its useful life, and that of the track surface has clearly passed. I'm sure you have a plan. I know there is focus on the football stadium and basketball facilities (of which I'm proud and excited), but it is hard to imagine bringing a recruit out on that surface. What's the time frame? When can we be proud again? When can we start hosting meets to contribute on the revenue side?
Thanks for all you do! I want the quality of our track facilities to match the quality of our staff and the other sports facilities.
Thank you for your support Troy, and we too want the quality of our track facilities to match the quality of our staff. The surface of our outdoor track is at the top of our priority list, and we are in the process of raising the much-needed funds from supporters of the program to restore the outdoor track to the level it needs to be for our coaching staff and our student-athletes.
How far above the playing surface is the first row of sideline seats in the new stadium? Also, how wide is the sideline at the 50 yard line?
The area for fans feet on the first row will be three feet and six inches above the field while the top of the field wall is approximately six feet and four inches above the playing surface. From wall-to-wall across the 50-yard line, there is a distance of 264 feet and eight inches.
This is kind of a funny subject but will the new stadium have palm trees in any part of it?
Jordan, we will not have palm trees in the new stadium. There may be the opportunity for palm trees around the stadium on campus, but no palm trees will be a part of the stadium.
I am trying to buy more UH gear to wear on Fridays and just in general, but everywhere I look the styling of clothing offered looks cheap. Some of the newer Nike stuff looks nice, but it's usually out of stock in the more popular sizes.
Also, clothing I find looks cluttered; there's usually too much wording or too many logos all bunched on the shirts or sweaters. Not sure how much influence you have, but it would be great to have simple but bold designs where the UH is in the middle or the cougar logo is presented.
Overall, I think what you've done for the university has been great and I'm definitely trying to make sure our brand moves closer to that of other Texas schools.
Juan, one way to look at it is that it's a positive that we are selling out of certain sizes of our Nike products. Our partners at Nike are well aware of the demand from our fan base for UH apparel and have started to increase the amount of production for future sales.
We have a number of licensed apparel companies we work with on the production of UH Athletics branded clothing and have a full licensing operation with our partners at LRG. (Full information on our licensing program can be found here) We carefully approve all designs and make sure we have a variety of designs available for a variety of interests in our fan base.
We greatly appreciate your support, and we, too, are making sure our brand moves closer to that of not just other Texas schools but closer to schools across the nation.
I love that UH is diversifying the sports in which we compete. Does UH plan to participate in all of the sports sponsored by the AAC such as women's rowing, men's soccer, etc? If not, does the University have plans to participate in non-sponsored sports such as hockey or sport-shooting?
John, at this time, our department does not have plans to add additional sports. We recently added our 17th sport in women's golf. The program has begun competition this season with four individuals, and we will have a full team for competition in the 2014-15 season.
Would it be possible to make the red/white cougar logo our primary Cougar logo, rather than the red/white/blue look?
One of the main objectives when we updated our marks in April 2012 was to remove the blue from the primary mark, the UH, since it is not an official school color. The department's secondary logo, the Cougar head, allowed us the opportunity to introduce the colors blue and gray (although gray has been introduced in the white-beveled UH) as tertiary colors for the department.
From a design standpoint, it is very difficult to create uniforms, practice gear, printed materials and other collateral with just two colors - especially if one of those colors is white.
While the full color version of the cougar logo is the preferred logo, some of our teams' merchandise and promotional giveaways have featured the red/white version.
If I am understanding correctly our ticket offices will be relocated to the new stadium and eventually something else will be done with our HOF room to better display our history. I am wondering if there are any plans and what we might utilize this space for in the future? Are there any other plans as far as the remainder of the UC to update and make better use for the facility as a whole?
Russell, updating and improving the Athletics/Alumni Center is also a part of our main facility page we are working on. Yes, the Athletics Ticket Office will be moving to the northeast corner of the new Houston Football Stadium, and we are looking at some possibilities with the future of our Hall of Fame area.