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AD Greg Byrne assesses UA sports

Gordon Bates / Arizona Summer Wildcat

Greg Byrne, the new Wildcat Athletic Director from Mississippi State, officially replaced Jim Livengood as of May 1st, 2010. In his new position, Byrne will oversee the general operation of all UA sports.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Summer Wildcat Greg Byrne, the new Wildcat Athletic Director from Mississippi State, officially replaced Jim Livengood as of May 1st, 2010. In his new position, Byrne will oversee the general operation of all UA sports.

Pac-10 alignment

Arizona’s Greg Byrne and the rest of the athletic directors in the Pacific 10 Conference are still hashing out details with the two new additions to the Pac-10.

Conference officials are still looking into how revenue, scheduling and bowl games will be broken down after the Pac-10 added the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Utah to the conference over the summer.

“”Still working through the revenue sharing model, hopefully that will be done in the next month or two,”” Byrne said. “”Once that is done I think it will clarify a lot more what takes place with divisional alignment.””

Byrne sees three possible scenarios for conference divisions still in play but a decision won’t be made until revenue sharing is cleared up.

He looks to the Southeastern Conference and the Big 10 Conference, which he considers the two most successful conferences in the nation, as examples. Both the SEC and the Big-10 share revenue equally throughout all the schools and each school can then make more money because of local rights.  

The athletic directors for all schools involved also need to discuss bowl game implications with the new alignment and non-conference scheduling, Byrne said.

“”Unfortunately with our focus on revenue sharing we haven’t dove into that much,”” Byrne said about future bowl possibilities.

Byrne discussed the many different avenues in regards to non-conference scheduling. He used USC as an example as a school who schedules difficult non-conference games, but also added it was not one size fits all.

“”We want a schedule that will give us the best chance to win, but we also want to interest our fans and have them come to the game(s),”” Byrne said.

A full schedule layout might be delayed since Colorado recently announced that it won’t jump to the Pac-10 until 2012, but Byrne said that decision is not set in stone.

 

Walking with the Wildcats

A new tradition begins Saturday two hours before kickoff of the Arizona and Citadel game. The UA football team will arrive at the corner of Cherry Avenue and University Boulevard and toward Arizona Stadium.

Fans are encouraged to line both sides of the street to cheer on the team as they go toward the stadium. Byrne is hopeful that this new tradition will catch on and hopes it is something that will continue in the future.

“”I think the only other team that does it in the Pac-10 is USC, I just think it gives the fans a closer experience with the team,”” Byrne said.

Byrne believes that the “”Wildcat Walk”” will also increase revenue on campus before the game starts.

“”The longer people spend on campus the more things they buy,”” Byrne said. “”They spend more on t-shirts, and they spend more on the local business community.””

Byrne reiterated that the “”Wildcat Walk”” can bring in more fans that the team would otherwise not be able to get.

“”The reality is there are some people that go to the games that go just for the experience,”” Byrne said. “”If someone has a great time at Wildcat Walk, maybe they will go to more games.””

 

North end zone

According to Byrne, the remodeling of the north end zone in Arizona stadium is moving forward as scheduled.

Byrne plans to meet with the architect later on this week to discuss the next steps in the process.

“”We haven’t signed any contracts yet,”” Byrne said. “”We have been working with Heery (International) and a few local architects involved as well.””

The school is still working on fundraising for the project, but does not have a set dollar amount in mind when it talks to potential investors. Rather than a set dollar amount, Byrne thinks that it’s more about an excellent business plan.

“”New locker rooms, coaching offices, meeting rooms, weight rooms, medical offices all these things are non-negotiable,”” Byrne said.

 

Football entrance revamped

Not only will there be new traditions outside the stadium before kickoff, but there also be changes to the team entrance.

Unlike last year, the band will be involved as the team runs onto the field. The entrance also involves a new video.

“”It’s going to hopefully, knock on wood, be timed to the second that the team has to get out there,”” Byrne said. “”Our exit from the locker is fairly narrow so getting everybody up there and ready to go is easier said than done.””

Byrne continued saying the new entrance will involve more people, which will make the timing difficult.

“”I have said this before, I have never had an original idea on my own,”” Byrne said. “”I just steal good ones from other people.””

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