March 8, 2013
When will we know where the University of Houston will play in 2013?
The last hurdle for us is the announcement and release of the NFL schedule. There are several factors that we needed to consider or mitigate through as we looked where we're going to play in 2013. Primarily we focused on what is best for our football program. We felt like playing in an NFL stadium certainly was positive, we think that had a great impact in terms of recruiting. When you talk about Reliant Stadium specifically, not only do you have the Texans that play in the stadium but you also have a lot of other events. So just availability, scheduling, all those things we've had to work through as well as make sure wherever we played, the field would be branded with our marks. So that was certainly something we needed to consider in terms of just again, how that would look potentially on TV. With our schedule just being released, you'll note that we have two national TV games so that again, that was really, really important. We anticipate most of our games will be played at Reliant but at this point in time we can't say for sure until that schedule is released.
Now that the 2013 schedule is out, what is your focus for future schedules?
We're focused on 2014-2020. We haven't had a lot of flexibility up to this point in time, certainly the condition of Robertson hasn't helped. With the new stadium coming online, that is going to help in terms of attracting teams but we want to move forward that we're always playing a minimum of six home games. Really, we'd prefer seven home games with only five on the road - there will be some years we are able to accomplish that, and some we won't. But we also don't want to put our football program in a position where we're playing two-for-one's. It was great to play UCLA in Robertson and I think everyone enjoyed that experience but remember, we had to go play there twice and I just don't think that's in the best interest of our football program. We want to grow our program where it's more about our team and rather less about who we're playing. It's more about the event. When you look at the top-10, 15, 20 programs in the country, they sell out capacity no matter who they're playing and that's really where we need to move forward. We understand there's some past rivalries particularly here in the state of Texas that have been important to our program. We've had a couple of positive responses and so hopefully we will be able to work through that and announce something in terms of future years by the end of this calendar year.
When do you expect to announce 2013 season ticket prices?
The end of this month, the beginning of April, we still anticipate that we will not only announce new ticket pricing for 2014, but also a grassroots donation plan with that so our fans have a total picture of what the investment will be for the 2014 season in the new on-campus stadium.
As a follow up, are there any plans for grassroots fundraising?
In regards to 2013 right now, we understand and apologize but we have not sent out renewals for the 2013 season and we won't do that until we know exactly where each game is played. But certainly, we're excited and we know what's on the horizon and that's a brand new, on-campus 40,000-seat, start-of-the art stadium.
The BIG EAST has been in the news lately regarding its future and the Catholic Seven, Can you address those headlines?
We're excited about the future. The Catholic Seven have announced they are breaking away and I've addressed that I'm disappointed but we're going to move on. I certainly like the strength when you look at the new members along with Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida, I think it's going to be a great, great league for us. When you think about the two sports, football and men's basketball, I think it's going to be very high quality, along with all the other sports. Remember that still in 2013 we have a tie in to the BCS bowl system. Following that, the BIG EAST, or whatever the name of the conference is, will have a tie in to one of the six bowl games that will make up the playoff system. Part of it is an evolution for us, part of the growth of this program and we're excited about the future.