A conversation with the Florida Gators’ executive associate AD: Changes to football and basketball

On the heels of one of the biggest transitional offseasons in program history, Florida Gators executive associate athletic director Mike Hill sat down with OnlyGators.com for 45 minutes to discuss chances to the football and basketball programs, the inner workings of the University Athletic Association and whether athletic director Jeremy Foley really is that resistant to special uniforms for the football team.

Hill, who has just begun his 23rd season at Florida, is also largely responsible for the Gators’ basketball scheduling, which has been turned upside down due to changes in renovation plans for the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Continue Reading » A conversation with the Florida Gators’ executive associate AD: Changes to football and basketball

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Silver Lining for Wednesday, August 20

Couple thousand student season tickets remain unsold

Attendance at sporting events is a growing problem across the nation, and the Florida Gators have been attempting to do whatever they can to try and address the issue in order to reach full capacity at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium each week.

Florida has wired the stadium to drastically improve cellular phone reception (though high-speed wireless internet, at a cost of about $3 million, has not yet been implemented throughout the stadium), begun offering more affordable tickets to recent graduates, opened spring and fall practices to all comers and even formed a council of boosters and students to ensure the program is doing everything it can to get its tickets sold.

UF also worked with the Southeastern Conference and its television partners to ensure that its early-season games were played in the late afternoon or evening, rather than the grueling early-afternoon heat.

Unfortunately for the Gators, the problem has only continued to grow. What was once limited to declining season ticket sales from boosters, those unwilling to spend thousands of dollars to get a couple of seats in The Swamp on Sunday, has now jumped across the field to the student section.

A Florida spokesman told OnlyGators.com last week that the school had “a couple thousand” student season tickets unsold with just two weeks to go before the start of the season. Pressed for a more specific number with 10 days left, the spokesman divulged this week that there are approximately 2,000 student season tickets available (as of press time) with that number shrinking minimally each day.

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining for Wednesday, August 20

Tags: , , , , , ,

Gator Bites for Thursday, October 25

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» OGGOA learned this week that the Florida Gators basketball team is set to scrimmage the Rollins Tars on Saturday in Gainesville, FL. Florida usually hosts another team for a scrimmage before the season begins and practiced against Central Florida in this spot one year ago. Former Gators forward Adam Allen and walk-on guard Kyle McClanahan both now play for Rollins as Allen is re-starting his basketball career following multiple knee surgeries and McClanahan transferred in order to play more.

» ESPN’s Andy Katz confirmed on Wednesday that Florida and Georgetown will both be wearing camouflage uniforms for the Navy/Marine Corps Classic in Jacksonville, FL on Nov. 9. The uniforms have not yet been received by either school as Nike is putting the finishing touches on them before producing and shipping them out.

» Here’s a fun commercial for the 2012-13 basketball season: “Live Live in the Dome.”

» The University of Florida and University of Georgia student governments established a rivalry trophy in 2009 for the annual football series between the two schools. Though the Gators held the Okefenokee Oar the first two years it existed, the Bulldogs got to bring it back to Athens, GA last year. Anxious to get it back, UF built a display case for the trophy in the Reitz Union, which the student government hopes can be filled with the oar following the game. More from The Gainesville Sun.

Read EIGHT more Gator Bites…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Thursday, October 25

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Getting into Navy/Marine Corps Classic featuring Florida and Georgetown will cost you

One month ago the Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas announced that their college basketball programs will begin the 2012 season by participating in the Navy/Marine Corps Classic on Nov. 9 off the coast of Jacksonville, FL.

Set to compete onboard a U.S. Naval carrier on the water outside an active military base, Florida and Georgetown will go head-to-head one of three currently scheduled games set to be played on naval ships in honor of Veterans Day.

And while fans are undoubtedly excited to see their favorite team competing on a large stage in such a high-profile game, attending the contest in person may not necessarily be within the realm of fiscal possibility for many Gators.

Interviewed live Tuesday by host Frank Frangie on Sports Radio 1010XL in Jacksonville, executive director of sports & entertainment for the City of Jacksonville Alan Verlander provided some insight on how fans may be able to acquire passes for the game.

According to Verlander, who said an official press release with exact details is scheduled for Thursday, the cheapest way to attend the two-day event is for $1,000 with packages set to be sold for as much as $50,000. However, that cost will cover a lot more than just the ability to watch Florida and Georgetown square off live on the carrier.

“It’s not just $1,000 for one basketball game,” he cautioned. “It’s $1,000 for a whole two-day event.”

[View Florida-Georgetown Sponsorship Packages]

The City of Jacksonville is technically not allowed to sell tickets “to an event on a navy base or any military base that is active,” so instead they partnered with the Jacksonville Jaguars to create “sponsorship packages” for a two-day event.

Those packages will include a V.I.P. party for the Jaguars game on Thursday, passes to the basketball game, parking and the ability to attend a pre-game fan festival on the military base (including a concert from a “big-name entertainer”) prior to Friday’s contest.

“We’re creating a fan fest on the [military] base before the basketball game,” Verlander explained. “Envision this: You’ve got an aircraft carrier on the coast there…and then right adjacent to that you have a huge fan festival, and we’re trying to bring in a big-name entertainer. We’re in talks right now with a big-name entertainer that everybody’s heard of.”

He also noted that a portion of the money paid for each sponsorship package will go to purchasing tickets so members of the military can attend the football game on Thursday and the press release notes that “proceeds from the sponsorship packages will go to support local military and veterans efforts.”

“The aircraft carrier that they’re bringing is going to have 3,000 servicemen and women that will go to the Jaguar game the night before and then obviously go to the basketball game,” Verlander told OGGOA on Wednesday. “Part of each package is helping send those servicemen and women to the [football] game.”

Only 8,000 passes will be disseminated for the basketball game with 3,000 going to members of the military. Of the remaining 5,000, Verlander said 4,400 should be available to the public with UF and GU each receiving a small allotment of their own.

“The actual attendance on the deck will be 8,000. That’s as many as we can seat. We fully anticipate it selling out very quickly,” he said. “It’s going to be a hard ticket.”

Verlander also told OGGOA that he and the universities both hope that students will be able to attend the game though it is currently unknown how many tickets will be available. Season ticket holders will have to spring for the sponsorship packages.

“We’re looking at potentially doing some kind of thing for the students – students at both Georgetown and Florida – but it would be on a very limited basis. We’re still looking at that right now as far as students go,” he said. “If you’re a Gator season ticket holder, really the only way to [go to this game] is to buy one of these packages. It’s not because we’re trying to be exclusive or anything like that; it’s a major event to put on with major expenses and it’s a one-of-a-kind of event that we’ve got to be able to pay for and partner with the military and do it the right way.”

Read the rest of this story on the Navy/Marine Corps Classic…after the break!
Continue Reading » Getting into Navy/Marine Corps Classic featuring Florida and Georgetown will cost you

Tags: , , , , ,

Praise lauded on Tebow prior to home finale

As if you did not know by now, Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow will be playing his last home game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday against the Florida State Seminoles. While a common theme among non-Gators fans is that the media is obsessed with Tebow, it appears that the only time they really come out of the woodwork to praise him is when a momentous event occurs – be that his final home game, winning the Heisman Trophy or even the concussion he suffered earlier this season against the Kentucky Wildcats.

Tony Barnhart, the self-proclaimed “Mr. College Football” who writes for both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and CBS Sports, took his sweet time in realizing that the sporting world has been watching a remarkable athlete, teammate, leader and individual every Saturday during football season for four years. “All I know is that Tim Tebow has three games left as a college football player,” Barnhart wrote. “And there may come a day when we call him the greatest player of all. So just enjoy it.”

Things are broken down on a more simple level by Chris Low of ESPN. “Bill Parcells used to always say that you are what your record says you are,” Low wrote in his blog on Tuesday. “Tebow’s record says that he’s a winner. As legacies go, I can’t imagine a better one.” Low’s post is a must-read for any Tebow fan or college football fan questioning why he gets so much acclaim.

As to how Tebow will be honored in his home finale, it will not be anything special. “Obviously Tim Tebow is an icon, but our hope is that fans will salute this class as a whole,” University of Florida associate athletic director Mike Hill said. “Tim would not want that. This is about Senior Day. Not Tim Tebow day. Gators fans are pretty savvy when it comes to football, they know what this group has accomplished. They will make all seniors know how much they love what they’ve done as Gators.”

While that is true, UF has still decided to extend the Senior Day festivities by two minutes “with the belief that some ovations will be longer than usual,” Hill said. If you think The Swamp is loud on fourth down during a tied game, just wait until you hear the crowd when Tebow emerges from the tunnel.

Tags: , , , , ,