Aug. 18, 2010
This past year the nation buzzed about conference realignment. Sports media, fan message boards and athletic directors across the country were braced for `major shifts' in the membership structure across a number of NCAA Division I conferences.
We did see movement begin this summer between the Big 10, Pac 10 and Big XII conferences. These shifts did not have significant impact on Southern Miss or Conference USA, but most agree that realignment may not be over. We may yet see more changes in the future; however, right now it is very quiet.
So what does this have to do with football season and all our athletic events?
Most people are now turning their attention away from conference realignment now that football season is here. To many, it's a welcome change after being deluged with media coverage and predictions of major realignments that did not really occur this year. But this is actually the time for all our fans to be thinking about the future. Now is the time that you can do your part in positioning Southern Miss to compete at the highest level, which has always been our goal.
That begins with buying tickets and attending games in all sports. It's crucial that our fans attend every home game -- not just a select few -- because this is an important measuring tool used to evaluate programs for possible movement across conferences during expansion.
This summer I had the opportunity to speak with many of our fans who were understandably nervous and anxious about how conference realignment would affect Southern Miss. They wanted to know what our opportunities were, and seemed anxious to do something -- anything -- to help our positioning. As I have said before, the keys to our success are fans that buy tickets, attend games and join the Eagle Club.
President Martha Saunders and I are keenly aware of how important it is to do all we can to make sure our institution is positioned to compete at the highest level. Our fans should know that Dr. Saunders has been, and continues to be, engaged with leaders of other institutions across the country to share the good news about Southern Miss. Likewise, I have had the opportunity to visit with other athletic directors -- both active and former -- in examining the future of college sports.
Much was done behind the scenes this past year to make sure that Southern Miss is among the discussions nationally and to position us well, but we need our fans behind us. Everyone is aware that the economy has put a pinch on family budgets, but we also remind everyone that there is no greater excitement than Golden Eagle football game days and all our home athletic events.
It all begins on Friday, August 27 when our soccer and volleyball teams open at home. Make plans now by buying your season tickets. Join the fun of tailgating and being at "The Rock" for some of the best football in the South and being in Hattiesburg and on campus for all our home sporting events. It really is the best investment for your entertainment dollar, and it helps move SOUTHERN MISS TO THE TOP!