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Interesting Meetings in Dallas

Sept. 30, 2011

Needless to say, the events in Dallas this week were very interesting at the NCAA Division-I Athletic Directors Conference and the C-USA AD's meetings. For me, it all started on Sunday night when the Board of Advisors of the Division-I ADs met to discuss and review a new and streamlined compliance model the athletic directors are striving for the NCAA to adopt. Several of the top NCAA executives attended the session and we felt we made giant strides in the future restructuring of the NCAA compliance division.

During the course of the four days of meetings, I had the chance to visit with many of my colleagues and discuss many of the issues that we are currently facing in intercollegiate athletics. We also had a very productive meeting with the athletic directors and the commissioner of the Mountain West Conference (MWC). C-USA has been very proactive in this endeavor and has been discussing the alliance with the MWC for almost a year; however, the talks have accelerated.

The two groups were very engaged and unanimous in agreeing to work together on this potential concept. Our collective goals are to create stability, increase our national audience and improve our overall marketing strategies; and most important, to position our programs to compete at the highest level of postseason play. While there is no specific timeline, the intention is to move forward at a committed and focused pace. I was pleased that the ADs seemed very cohesive in our goals of conference realignment and the stability of C-USA.

The key for Southern Miss is to be able to play on the highest level of college football and postseason play and we will continue to seek every avenue to make this a reality.

I want to congratulate our football team and coaches on their excellent victory at Virginia. It was a hard-fought contest and it speaks volumes for the quality of our program to defeat an Atlantic Coast Conference team both at home and on the road. We must now focus on Rice and our C-USA game in Hattiesburg this weekend.

Rice certainly showed their mettle offensively with the points they scored against two nationally ranked teams, Texas and Baylor, and their win over a Big Ten team, Purdue. It's our annual BLACKOUT game and we need to show the Owls that we dominate at night in Hattiesburg. They own two wins over us in 2007 and 2008 and we must turn the tide. The weather will be perfect and we expect a big crowd.

Both our soccer and volleyball teams open C-USA action at home this weekend. Our improved soccer team will host Colorado College on Friday at 4 and UTEP on Sunday at 1. The volleyball team faces Memphis at 7 on Friday and UAB on Sunday at 1.

Our softball program, under new co-head coaches Jon Malgradi and Kirsten Voak, also starts their fall schedule on Saturday when the take on William Carey in a pair of scrimmages. Jon and Kirsten have high expectations for the program and so do I. We're all looking forward to watching this team through the fall.

Be Proud and Wear your Black & Gold!!!

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