Dr. Wood Selig Responds!

Aug. 30, 2001

Submit Your Question!

Q: "Most big name school have arena that seats 18,000 or more people. Will this hurt Western when trying to sign top high school players? It seems to me it would." -- question submitted by Ken Smith (Louisville, Ky.)

Dr. Selig: "I think a quality facility and its atmosphere is the key to signing recruits. I do not think recruits count seats when they are visiting.... they do take note of sell-out crowds and intense game night atmosphere. Trying to build an 18,000 seat arena or expand Diddle to that capacity would be the worse mistake we could make for our basketball programs. Don't forget the women play in Diddle too. Look at Duke. The second smallest facility in the ACC but probably the best atmosphere in the country. They are not missing out on recruits looking for 18,000 seat venues to showcase their talents. We are in a world of TV now. An arena can be immediately turned into a multi-million seat arena on ESPN and network television. Our focus is on creating supply and demand issues at Diddle. Turning people away at the door, announcing a sell-out is what we desire every night, regardless of the opponent. We want to make a WKU game a tough ticket, create a close intimate environment that is brutal for a visiting team. Smaller arenas that are full are much better than larger arenas half full."

Q: "First of all, I want to say thank you for everything you are doing for Western. It is so nice to have leadership at Western that wants to take us to the highest level possible. My question concerns Midnight Madness for men's basketball. As you know, there is a lot of excitement building for Hilltopper Basketball. I also know that Coach Felton has said he would not want to hold a Midnight Madness prior to the first official practice unless it would be a packed house. Do you feel like there is a chance we will have a Midnight Madness this season? I believe if it is marketed properly, we could pack Diddle this year for Midnight Madness." -- question submitted by Charles Bledsoe (Hermitage, Tenn.)

Dr. Selig: "Thank you for your kind words. You have a good point -- Midnight Madness could be a hit this year given the men's Sun Belt championship and NCAA tournament team we have returning from last year. Additionally, women's basketball will be under new leadership and that too could add to the excitement. We will take your recommendation up with both of our basketball programs and marketing staff in the coming months and determine what our best strategy might be. Thanks for your support of WKU athletics.... these are great times to be associated with the Hilltoppers!"

Q: "I found out that Commonwealth Broadcasting just sold some of their radio stations. How is that going to affect the broadcasting of football and basketball? It was very nice to be able to keep up last year, and I can't get that little radio station in Louisville." -- question submitted by Robert Cooley (Shelbyville, Ky.)

Dr. Selig: "CBC did sell the Frankfort stations to ClearChannel. This has just become public recently. The move will not impact the Big Red Radio Network. WKXF, Eminence/Shelbyville, will continue to be an important part of the network.We're proud of what the Big Red Radio Network has become and it continues to improve and grow into the second-largest collegiate sports network in Kentucky."

Q: "Is Western going to have any tickets for the November 15th basketball game at UK and will any of those tickets be available to students?" -- question submitted by Michael Windhorn (Bowling Green, Ky.)

Dr. Selig: "Western Kentucky will open the 2001-02 season against Kentucky in the NABC Classic on November 15th (Thursday evening at about 8:30 ET). The following night we would play either George Washington or Marshall. Their final RPI rankings last year were 122 and 107 respectively. WKU's final RPI was 78 while UK was 9. Clearly the NABC Classic will be very competitive and feature some outstanding basketball to start the season. We will receive slightly more than 2,300 tickets for this tournament. Season ticket holders who are HAF members and who renew or purchase season tickets will have the option to purchase the first 2,000 books of tickets. We are purchasing these tickets for about $60 per book. Thus each game is about $15. We must sell each book as a four-game package. For students, several hundred will be made available to our students as we want to create the best possible atmosphere in Rupp Arena for the Hilltoppers. Hopefully our students will rally around the cause and be a visible force on November 15 and 16. Thanks for your support of the Hilltoppers. See you in Rupp and Diddle this year."

Q: "How did WKU obtain the contract to play Wisconsin in football this season at Madison?" -- question submitted by Tim Bean (Winter Haven, Fla.)

Dr. Selig: "A lot of perseverance got the opportunity with Wisconsin. After about 150 phone calls and letters to all I-A football teams, I discovered at the last minute that Wisconsin was looking for a game as recently as last August for the 2001 season (which is not a good situation to be in getting so close to the next season). I know their ticket manager from when we were both at Virginia together. We were talking on the phone one day last summer and I told him Western wanted to get a I-A game for 2001. I suggested he let his football coaching know of our interest in playing Wisconsin or another I-A opponent if one should call them seeking a game in 2001. He indicated Wisconsin had a game drop on them at the last minute for 2001 and they were trying to fill a mid-September slot as soon as possible. I indicated we had that date open. A few weeks later the athletic director at Wisconsin, Pat Richter called, and we worked out the arrangements for the Western vs. Wisconsin game. Hard to believe in three weeks we will be headed there to play the first ever Big Ten opponent in WKU's football history."

Q: "I just wanted to know if there are any plans to have the football game against Wisconsin televised in the Bowling Green or Nashville area?" -- question submitted by Tim McQuinn (Franklin, Tenn.)

Dr. Selig: "We are trying to work with Wisconsin to get the game back to Bowling Green on WKYU-TV and possibly other Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network affiliates. We will get a press release out as soon as we know the details."

Q: "First, let me say that I really enjoyed our going away party with the Ohio Valley Conference. I think WKU made the correct choice in deciding to say no to the unreasonable request to move all sports back to the OVC, and I was happy to see us accept the invitation to play in the Gateway Conference in 1-AA football. Now that WKU has made that move, can you comment on any consideration for a future affiliation with the Missouri Valley Conference? I personally think the Sun Belt, while it has been very good for us in basketball and other sports such as well, is getting weaker and it's certainly more geographically unappealing than the MVC." -- question submitted by Terry Parker, '82 (Versailles, Ky.)

Dr. Selig: "Thank you for your support of WKU athletics. We feel that at this time the Sun Belt, while difficult geographically and from a rivalry standpoint, makes the most sense and best fit for us. We are always monitoring the landscape of conference affiliation and trying to make sure we are in tune with what makes the best long term strategy for WKU. Right now with the SBC becoming a I-A conference, we will start to reap some national media attention benefits that will spill over to basketball and other sports. The MVC is an outstanding conference and one that has great rivalry potential and closer proximity for our team travel. We already have two sports (football and men's soccer) in the MVC. They however have not asked us to join nor have they expressed interest to this point in our membership. The Sun Belt on the other hand has recently awarded WKU with nine SBC championship events (including two consecutive SBC men's and women's basketball tournaments in 2003 and 2004) on our home fields and floors - which could be significant in securing automatic NCAA postseason bids for many of our teams. WKU was awarded twice as many championships as any other school in the league and the basketball award for two straight years upon the renovation of Diddle Arena was a huge accomplishment. Life is good for the Hilltoppers in the SBC at this particular time. We need to focus now on dominating the league in the majority of sports. Thanks for your question."