Football

    Fred Glass at Football Media and Photo Day

    Go Hoosiers! Fred Glass met with the media on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Fred Glass met with the media on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Aug. 19, 2010

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass met with media on Tuesday. Below is the transcript from his press gathering:

    Opening Statement:
    "When we were in Chicago we talked about the football part mostly, which is obviously the most important part. As we did last year, I want to talk today about the things that are going on outside of the field. Just for context, I want to remind everybody why we think football is so important at Indiana University. It's important because it's football. We're a football oriented conference. Football represents your school. It's a big deal. It's also important because it's the revenue driver for the balance of the department. We rank last among public universities in the Big Ten in terms of how much money we have to spend on all of our sports. The reason for that is that we have a small stadium that we don't fill. If you look at the list of the best funded departments and the least funded departments, it's almost the exact same list as the biggest football stadiums and the smallest football stadiums. Football's important for football's sake and it's also important for the whole department. I would also suggest to you that it's important for the university because I believe athletics is a gateway to a life-long connection with the university. If you're not inclined to go to football games, in particular, when you're a student, it's not something you're going to want to come back and do as an alumnus. If you don't come back to football games as an alumnus, I think you're less likely to get involved in the Alumni Association, the Dean's Advisory School, the Journalism School or the business school.

    "I'll also acknowledge that I get that being good is the best way to get people in the stands. I understand that winning is the best marketing strategy we can have, but I reject and have always rejected the approach that I think some people sometimes have that there's not much we can do, we'll just wait until the team wins. I think that's wrongheaded. That's why last year and continuing this year, we're trying to do everything we can to prime the pump if you will, to get people excited so that as the team comes along, as I'm very confident it will, we're going to be in great shape in terms of attendance. I think last year we had some reasons to feel like there was success. We had the highest attendance both in the student body and overall since 1992. We went from averaging about 31,000 people a game the previous year to about 42,000 a game last year. That was the third-highest percentage increase of any football program in the entire country. I think we have a lot of momentum and what we're doing this year is not resting on our laurels, but trying to continue to build that momentum.

     

     

    On family fun and new activities in the stadium: :
    "We're doing the five dollar tickets for kids. It used to be 17 or 18 dollars for a kid. We moved that to five dollars and branded the five dollars a little bit. We think that makes it a really family friendly deal to bring your kids down and get a discount. We're holding the adult prices flat and a significant cut on the kids tickets that produces a real discount for families. Our kids tickets are up 35 percent from year to year. We don't think that's an accident because we've really been promoting the five dollar tickets.

    "We're also doing five dollar tickets for new alumni. If you've graduated from IU in three years of less then you get five dollar tickets. We're trying to put people in the habit of coming to IU games because we think that's a lot of what this is, getting fans early, capturing kids and capturing young alumni. Although I'll admit that this is on a fairly small base, our young alumni tickets are up 1,400 percent. We think that's going to be a good one for us, not only in the short term, but the longer term as we get people in the habit of doing that stuff.

    "We've talked about the south end zone scoreboard. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to look at it. It's gigantic, wall-to-wall video on that thing. It's the second-biggest scoreboard in the Big Ten. Think about that for a minute, I would suggest to you that the Big Ten is the most significant football conference in the country. I understand that other people may lay claim to that, but in terms of tradition, the size of stadiums, the fan base, and last year I think competitively strong. It's a very significant football conference, and Indiana University has the second-largest scoreboard in that conference. It's one of the top ten scoreboards in the country. We're not going to run our same old stuff on that. We're going to utilize it and try to bring the action to the whole stadium, lots of video from the stands. It's got a brand new sound system in it so the music should sound a lot better. Lots of whiz bang stuff in there, lots of fan friendly stuff in there, scores from around the country and statistics so hopefully you get the best of both worlds. You're not only in the stadium with the band, the drum line, the coeds, the flags, and all of that, but it's like you're watching in your living room because you get updates, scores, highlights and stuff like that. We think that will be fabulous.

    "We're renaming the student section `The Quarry,' trying to play off the concept the concept of 'The Rock' and what Coach Hoeppner did for us. You may have noticed the new quarry wrapping in there. When I was a student here I probably spent more time at the quarries than I did in the library. Those rocks and all that are reminiscent of that. That's kind of a fun thing that I think the fans will enjoy. We're going to encourage the kids to play off that theme and wear hard hats and do quarry stuff. We're going to do the freshmen run out at the beginning of the game and probably have some other run outs. We'll have some kid take a flag that will say "The Quarry" on it and they'll run up and put it on a flagpole that we're going to put at the back of "The Quarry" section. The Quarry name is on our t-shirt. The students voted on that and it's a pretty cool student t-shirt.

    "We're going to have a quarry rig or quarry derrick. It looks like a crane that they use to pull the rocks out of the quarries. We're creating a replica of that and we're going to put in front of the student section. It's going to be about 20 feet high. On the top of it is going to be a horn. When there's a big play by IU, a turnover, third-down stop, goal-line stand, or whatever, we're going to blow that horn. What we're doing is getting the team excited too. What we want them do is when there's a big play or something they're going to be calling for the horn to go off and some kid's going to make the decision of whether to blow the horn. That's going to be fun and create, I hope, kind of a party, fun atmosphere in the stadium.

    "We've been trying to do a little bit more of a crossover between what we do in basketball and football. It was interesting to me to go around the Big Ten last year on my first trip and go to Penn State, which isn't a real hotbed of basketball and Michigan, which right now really isn't a hotbed of basketball, and seeing the kids going crazy and doing all these cheers and being uniform and all of that. I realized that it's a huge carryover from football because those are big football schools and the kids are used to carrying that over. We sort of have the inverse here, with a lot of stuff and tradition that's grown up out of our basketball tradition that I want to bring over to football. The candy-striped pants on the footings of the scoreboard are a little bit of that. The William Tell Overture, the Lone Ranger, where the cheerleaders run around and wave the flags and everyone goes crazy. We're going to bring that to the football stadium. At the end of the third quarter, we're going to do the William Tell Overture version for football, which of course will have to be bigger and louder and wilder because of the size of the venue. We're going to try to get the kids involved, maybe acting like they're riding around, jumping around, doing the Lone Ranger thing if we can get the rights figured out with the Lone Ranger stuff on there because probably most of these kids have no idea who the Lone Ranger is, which reminds me I'm going to put Fred Flintstone up there for the derrick and the horn. That's a great way we can bring that video in because this scoreboard is 325 percent bigger in terms of the video stuff. It's like going from a Dick Tracy watch to a gigantic flat screen and we're going to make sure we utilize that.

    "We're taking the Knothole Park to the next logical step. We're creating the Knothole Club. These kids that get the five dollar tickets will automatically become members of the Knothole Club. They'll get what every 12-year old really, really wants, which is a membership card to put in their wallet. We've got these very cool Knothole Club membership cards and on the back is every game. We'll have a special sticker for every game and if the kid brings their Knothole Club membership card to the appropriate place in the stadium, they get a sticker and then if they get a sticker for each game they get a fabulous grand prize at the end of the season. They'll also get a t-shirt as they come in which will be tied to the Knothole Club.

    "The university has a sustainability effort going on. We've engaged in that in a big way and I'm committed to making Indiana University the greenest athletic department in the Big Ten. We're calling it 'Greening the Cream and Crimson.' We're going to do a bunch of stuff in connection with football with that. We are going to have about 100 volunteers patrolling the tailgate areas with recycling bags to try to scoop up the recyclable stuff before it goes into the landfill stream. We're going to have sustainability and recycling information booths in the stadium to try to help educate folks at the games about those. We're going to have 100 recycling bins all around the football complex. Thanks to Coca-Cola, they gave us those. We're only going to be using Indiana popcorn in the stadium. That's a big deal about local use of foods so that you're not having a lot of transportation cost and transportation pollution and that sort of thing. We're going to have valet bicycle parking, so you can ride your bike right up to the front gate and some kid will give you a token and park your bike at no cost so that you don't have to park your bike far away from the stadium. Also, our utensils that we're going to give out at the stadium are going to be corn-based so they're biodegradable.

    "The Big Ten athletic directors passed a new rule allowing you to amplify your band sound. We're going to take advantage of that rule because we think the band is a big plus for us. We think the band, the Red Steppers, the cheerleaders and the student section really distinguish us from the NFL experience. It's an important part of the college experience. We're going to take big time advantage of that.

    "We are having a new partnership with the IU Auditorium. They do a fabulous job with their ushers. They're all kids. You come in there and they all greet you, look you in the eye, and you know you're on a college campus. While we'll have some of our veteran ushers as well, we'll have a heavy sprinkle of IU students trained by the IU Auditorium. I think our fans will enjoy the opportunity to interact with students.

    "We're also going to try to do a lot of action outside of the stadium, more so than we've done before. We're going to have drum lines out there. The Bloomington Firemen Bag Pipe and Drum Corp is going to partner with us to be in and around the stadium. The cheerleaders are going to be out there and we're going to do other surprises.

    "This one probably won't win me any popularity contests with the neighbors, but because we start Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and that comes awful fast, especially for students just getting on campus, on game week, on Monday night, Tuesday night and Wednesday night at 7:30 we're going to blast off fireworks. That's kind of a reminder that at 7:30 on Thursday, at this time, there's action happening.

    "All of that stuff is essentially new. We're going to keep the stuff we did last year that we like. The five dollar student tickets for IU kids as well as other college kids, Knothole Park, the Kicks for Keeps. I think there's a buzz out there about the football program. I think it's reflected in our season ticket sales. Overall ticket sales are up 18 percent over this time last year. What I think is really exciting is that we've already surpassed last year's season ticket sales. Last year we had 17,278 season ticket sales and today we have 17,348."

    On progress with getting in and out of the stadium: :
    "Traffic is a huge focus for us. We get that people don't want to wait in traffic coming in or going out. We're largely spoiled here. People can get to Lucas Oil Stadium, Notre Dame does a great job, the Speedway does a great job. Our strengths are our weaknesses. We have so many spots close to the stadium. It's really the envy of the Big Ten. That's great for the activity of our fans, but everybody's trying to get to the same place. At Notre Dame they park out farther, at Penn State they park out farther and walk in or bus in. That's not an excuse. We've got to get better on that. We've been having conversations with the IU Alumni Association about maybe engaging in some remote parking and trying to have some satellite places where people party and do things then get on buses that come in. We just had a gigantic meeting with state police. We're going to try to continue the progress we made last year of trying to have a more integrated approach to traffic like having the traffic lights open longer on 37 and 465, open longer in Martinsville. Towards the end of this season our job's going to get harder, not easier, as the bypass work starts to impact our lane availability. We're just going to have get better to stay in place and staying in place isn't acceptable so we have to get better. We're working across the board on that to try and improve it because it's very important to the fan experience. We can have all the monkeys and hula hoops, but if somebody's so mad that they sat in traffic then we've lost the experience."

    On a measure for the program's success: :
    "I don't have any objective criteria. I personally think it's a cop out for an administrator to set some numeric base because then it's on automatic pilot and they can say well they didn't cross this threshold so my decision is clear. So many things can happen, injuries can happen, even a bad call might happen, who knows, so I've got to be nimble to evaluate the program on a subjective basis. I'm looking for improvement.

    "Last year we were 4-8 and you are what you are. I think there are a lot of reasons to be encouraged by 4-8, but ultimately we have to convert those into wins on Thursday nights and Saturdays. With attendance, we're way ahead of last year which I think is a tribute to our marketing and sales staff from getting people more interested sooner. Candidly, our home schedule is not as attractive as it was last year and I think if we hit the same averages as we hit last year this year then I'll be really pleased with that. We'll kind of see how it goes but I'm looking for attendance over revenue, and improvement more important than wins and losses, but looking to win more games.

    "I think we should sell out the stadium every game. I hope that's where we get soon. The program is going the right way. People come expecting to win. They like what we're doing. They create traditions. In some ways, I'm the target market for IU. I went to IU and went to all the football games while I was here. As I was a young alumnus, I came to a lot of games. Then as life started to catch up with kids and a career, I fell away and didn't come to as many games. I'm the kind of guy that ought to come to games because I like football, I like IU, I'm an alumnus. I want to get people like me to make coming to IU games a part of what they do and instill it in their kids. We've got 550,000 living alumni so we ought to be able to get 52,000 a week at the football games."

    On the changes for seating arrangements: :
    "We really didn't change the priority system. The priority points system is the same as it's always been. What we really did was give people the chance to go online and pick them themselves and I think once people understood that they felt much more comfortable with it. For people that are a little nervous about the technology, we've had people at the Varsity Club walk them through it and when they see how easy it is they really like it. Nobody really likes change, but as they understand that it's really more of an option that gives them more control as opposed to changing the priority points system it's been really well received."

    On increased promotion: :
    "We are investing more in promotion and we're trying to have a consistent message particularly to our paid media. Last year our media was sort of trust us it's going to be better. Thankfully this year I think we're able to say hey it was better, come and have some more. We'll try to keep the string constant so that the message that hopefully people are receiving is constant."

    On fans coming out to Memorial Stadium: :
    "That's what we're trying to create. We're really trying to create that the football game is really part of a bigger experience. Come for the day, come for the weekend. We've got a couple of night games, come early and help us avoid traffic by going to Kilroy's or Nick's or taking your kid out to lunch and make a day of it, maybe spend the night. Enjoy the drum lines going around and have a tailgate and make it a big deal because it's the fall in Bloomington, Indiana, on this campus, which is a huge benefit to us. I think the football is an important part of it and it will become a more important part of it."

    On changing the schedule in the future: :
    "The conversations with the ADs have really focused on football and I'm optimistic that pretty soon we'll have an alignment where we'll go to two divisions. The focus has been on competitive balance, more so than geography or anything else. A fairly close second is preserving tradition and rivalries. We've made a lot more progress than any of us thought we would and I think we'll be close to making an announcement on that soon. Part of that too is that we hope to go to nine games by the 2015 season. That's not for sure or in stone, but I think the momentum and desire is to get there if we can get the non-conference schedules aligned okay."

    On balancing the desire to win and better competition: :
    "I think it's a balance. I think you play one 1-AA school, that's hopefully one of interest. That's why we're trying to get Indiana State to play us and we're scheduling them more often. I think you need to play one strong team and I think we got away from that. Our non-conference schedule didn't have a Kentucky, or a Missouri, or a Virginia, or a Navy, or a Wake Forest, or the kinds of teams that people want to see and frankly the kind of public universities that we want to connect ourselves with. We'd like to think we're in the leagues with Virginia and the Naval Academy. If you look at our schedule going forward that I've had control over, we play a strong football school as one of our four games and then we tuck in regional competition and try to do interesting things like play at a historically black college and university. We're going to continue to play teams that hopefully we're pretty competitive against, but I want to make sure that we have a team that is the quality that you really want to come see."


       

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