Dr. Wood Selig Responds!

Jan. 23, 2001

Q:"There is one and only song that the WKU Pep Band can play that ignites our crowd and draws many to their feet. That is Western's fight song of "Stand Up and Cheer." Yet it seems that someone has programmed the Pep Band in advance of the songs that are to be played during timeouts. Regardless of what the score is, if we are behind or ahead and if moemntum may have just swung our way, the Pep Band always follows their program. Can there not be some coordination of this and someone better understand when playing the fight song is appropriate and needed? Let's use every resource available to us to bring victory to the Hilltoppers." -- question submitted by Wendell Strode (Bowling Green, Ky.)

Dr. Selig:"Wendell -- thanks for your question and your support of the Toppers. We do not script what our band plays, only when they play. We leave the songs to their discretion. Perhaps we should intervene more often, especially at the end of the game. While we do not want to overkill the WKU fight song, I understand your point of its appropriate and timely use. The crowd does tend to rally around the fight song more than anything else we play, band or otherwise. We will address this issue with our band. Keep us posted as to our progress in this area. Thanks for the feedback."

Q: "Why don't we upgrade the schedule in basketball? The next question is: The games were going to on channel 24 here in Louisville and they are not. Is it is a money problem? Why hasn't there been an effort made to get it.? I am sure there are people here that have the money but are not aware the games were going to be on TV." -- questions submitted by Burie Kenneth Smith (Louisville, Ky.)

Dr. Selig: "I assume you mean men's basketball schedule as I would put our women's non-conference schedule up against any other in the country. In fact, the Lady Toppers have had a schedule which has ranked in the top 50 in the country for the last two seasons. In addition, we are fortunate in that the Sun Belt is one of the top women's basketball conferences in the country, currently ranking eighth out of 31 Division I leagues.

As for our men, we are pleased with our schedule. We had Vanderbilt in Diddle Arena this year. Additionally we had Atlantic-10 Conference member St. Joseph (a better team than their name recognition) and Mid-American Conference member Akron visit Diddle. The non-Division I schools we played gave a young team much needed home games and a chance to boost our confidence after five consecutive losing seasons. We are going about the rebuilding process and the scheduling process the right way.

We played and beat Louisville on the road. We also played New Mexico and Murray State, two fine basketball programs. In the future we have Mississippi State, Kentucky, Louisville, and Vanderbilt on our schedule. Western fans should be proud of that type of schedule. I certainly understand how a competitive schedule helps attract prospective student-athletes, sells season and single game tickets, allows for TV games, and brings the students out in droves. So does a winning team.

We continue to seek quality, big-time opponents and rivals to enhance our schedule. I have heard fans say they would rather see us lose to an SEC team, than beat a lower level team by 30. To a point, I can see how this is true. Competitive balance is the key however. It would be great to play an ACC, SEC, or Big Ten team every night but that is simply not possible. For starters, many of them make you travel twice to their place to get one game in return. As we attempt to schedule a majority of games at home (you can play 27 games total, so that would be 14 regular season games at home each year) each season, it becomes increasingly difficult to play two or three teams that are "2-for-1" deals.

The other problem we face is the history of Diddle Arena and Western. It is no secret that we are one of the best all-time basketball programs in the country. The major powers want a "lightweight" non-conference schedule with no road surprises, if they are willing to hit the road at all. We do not fit either one of those scheduling variables. We have sent letters to all the top 100 programs in the country and have not had one program respond with an interest in starting a home-and-home series.

As our team matures and we make competitve progress, you should see the same growth and maturity of our schedule -- if we can schedule these programs. Thank you for following the Toppers."

Dave Hunziker, WKU Director of Broadcasting & Sales: "WYCS-TV (Channel 24) is our Louisville affiliate and is carrying our television schedule for the rest of the season. They had some problems receiving our satellite feed earlier in the season but those issues have been resolved and we expect no additional problems this season.

WYCS is a great partner for us. We are working with the WYCS staff to pursue local advertisers in Louisville in an effort to maximize the benefit of this partnership for both parties. We are excited about our Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network (HSSN) and feel great about our list of first-year affiliates, which includes College Sports Southeast and the Sunshine Network. We look forward to taking our broadcasts into additional key markets next season. Thanks for your interest in Hilltopper athletics."