The Hokie Hotline (football and basketball season)
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Tech Sports Tonight (football season only)
(previously Tech Talk Tuesday)
When: every Tuesday from 7:00-9:00
Station:  WXGI AM 950 in Richmond
Internet: (click on WXGI LIVE!)
Local call-in number: 345-0950
Toll free call-in number: 877-994-4950

Monday, March 3, 2003
by Will Stewart,

Monday's Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline show originated from Beamer's Restaurant and featured VT Athletic Director Jim Weaver and head men's basketball coach Ricky Stokes.

Jim Weaver's Segment

Mr. Weaver announced that $5 admission will be charged to adults for the VT Spring Game this year. VT students get in free, and students and children 18 and under also get in free. Adults will be charged $5, and all proceeds will be donated to help pay off Rayna DuBose's medical expenses.

Rayna is, of course, a former VT women's basketball player who was diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial infection that nearly claimed her life. Her condition slowly improved, but tissue damage from the infection forced doctors to amputate both her hands and feet.

Rayna DuBose is the recipient of the Most Courageous Student-Athlete award, as voted by the US Basketball Writers Association of America.

Don (Class of '59) emailed and asked about reassigning of seats in Lane Stadium. Weaver said that reseating will occur after completion of West Side expansion, at least two years in the future, maybe three or four years. Weaver said that VT runs a $25 million a year athletic business that needs at least $1 million in new money each year to cover rising costs, and reseating will help with that goal. He also assured fans that it will be done with the utmost care and consideration towards being fair.

Jerry asked via email about Lane Stadium expansion. Weaver said that VT does not have an "exact plan" at this point, but has three options:

1.) Renovate the existing press box and build two additional "towers", one each towards the North and South ends. Cost: $48 million.

2.) Large expansion version: Add 22 new rows on the top of the West Side stands, plus two new floors on the press box. Cost: $72-$75 million.

3.) Smaller version of option 2: Add 10 or 11 rows and put two more levels on the press box, stretching from North to South along the top of the West stands. Cost: $62-$65 million.

The athletic department will meet with the architects one more time in March, get some questions answered and tweak the designs a little more. The earliest VT would start construction would be if they went with the current expansion model, which is option 1. Construction could start as soon as the end of the 2003 football season and be finished in time for the 2005 football season.

Weaver said he was confident the West Side will be expanded, he's just not sure how, and he hopes the decision will be made in the next 6-8 weeks.

The next email, from Kevin, asked about having a live turkey as a mascot, and having it lead the team out of the tunnel. Weaver jokingly asked if Kevin was a Hokie or a Wahoo, and then he answered that VT hasn't been the Gobblers for 25 years (thanks, Jim, you make me feel old), and they'll stick with the Hokie Bird. "It works pretty well for us."

The next email asked why the VT band does not play the Tech alma mater prior to playing the national anthem at basketball games. Weaver answered that the Big East regulates the beginning of a game, including player introductions and the national anthem. The decision is not VT's and is driven by Big East policy.

Another email asked ("not to beat a dead horse") if VT could play in a preseason game this coming season. Weaver said there are two more preseason games in college football, the BCA Classics in 2003 and 2004, and VT is scheduled to participate in the 2004 BCA Classic in Blacksburg (opponent was not named by Weaver, though ECU is most often mentioned). That gives VT 13 games in 2002, 12 in 2003, and 12 in 2004 -- implying that to play in the 2003 game would make it 13-13-11, which is not the distribution Weaver wanted.

The next email asked if VT can schedule a home-and-home against Maryland in football. Weaver said he had talked to Maryland AD Debbie Yow, who was the women's basketball coach at Florida when Weaver was there. Weaver said he had tried two or three times, and Maryland did not want to play.

Weaver went on to say that VT is scheduled out through 2015 with major non-conference opponents and the University of Virginia. He listed (working backwards) Ohio State in 2014 and 2015, Illinois in 2012 and 2013, Auburn in 2010 and 2011, Wisconsin in 2008 and 2009, NC State and UNC in 2004-2007, and Texas A&M in 2003.

Roth asked why NCSU and UNC are willing to play VT, but Maryland isn't. Weaver said, "You'll have to ask them [Maryland]. I talk to them, and I donít get a good answer."

Barek in Blacksburg called in to ask if VT would wage a Heisman campaign for Kevin Jones in the upcoming year. Weaver said that's a Sports Information function, and he had not had any conversations on the matter. Roth put forth the opinion that with VT on TV so much, they don't really need to wage Heisman campaigns. Everyone knows who Kevin Jones is, and VT hasn't spent a dime promoting him for Heisman, Roth noted.

James in Roanoke called in and asked if the logo of every conference team could be put on the wall of Cassell Coliseum, like it was back in the old Metro Conference days. Weaver and Roth, half-serious, said there were too many Big East teams to do it. James also asked about putting the Big East logo on the floor, and Weaver said that VT was trying to keep the floor clean and uncluttered.

The next segment of the show talked about sportsmanship among the fans. Weaver was on the NCAA sportsmanship committee that met recently in Dallas, on Feb. 20th and 21st. Roth asked what the committee talked about. Weaver said there were 130 attendees, and he represented the Big East. The meeting was called in Dec. of 2002 by NCAA President Miles Brand, and it was called because there have been too many "cultural issues" (read: riots) occurring after big games.

Weaver noted riots in Bloomington Indiana and College Park Maryland after last year's NCAA Championship game, and also talked about a big problem (cars getting turned over and set on fire) in Columbus, Ohio, after last year's OSU/Michigan football game.

Weaver said that VT will have a policy that anyone entering the field after a game will be subject to arrest, and that the policy will be printed on the back of the tickets starting next year. He said that VT fans have been really good about not rushing the football field, and the only time it has occurred during his tenure at VT was after the BC victory in 1999 that secured Tech's undefeated regular season.

Weaver noted that collapsible goal posts "that come down in seven seconds" are now manufactured, and that VT is going to have them, because he doesn't want to go on record as being the AD that has a fan killed by a goal post being torn down.

Roth talked about two incidents involving VT last year: the night before the LSU game, there was a "big fight" between LSU and VT fans on Main Street, and later in the season, after WVU defeated Tech, fires were set in Morgantown. Weaver asked what AD's can do to stop it. Weaver said AD's were going to try to educate fans and try to do something about the consumption of alcohol, which is a precipitating factor (no further clarification or comment on this).

He said that there are five areas in which the committee will study improvements and education, but that there probably won't be national-level regulation, that it's more realistic to have conference regulation.

Weaver noted that, for example, you can control student behavior based on where you seat them, by seating them farther from the field. Roth said, "If someone gets injured after a game, you're liable, aren't you?" Weaver said yes, no matter what the conditions, VT would probably wind up being ruled liable in a court of law, so the best thing to do is to keep the fans off the field, period.

John in Blacksburg called in and commented that when VT basketball games are broadcast on TV, cameras are focused on the scorer's table and benches, and behind that "what we see are a bunch of empty seats." He noted that at Michigan, they put the students in that highly-viewable area, creating a more enthusiastic atmosphere on TV. John suggested that VT students be seated down low, in similar fashion.

Weaver said that the students are down low, on the other side of the court. He noted that the sections John was referring to are traditionally reserved for donors who purchase season tickets and may be remotely located and not able to make a lot of games.

Curtis in Christiansburg called in and asked if Tech will ever host the Big East tournament in women's basketball. Weaver said that Rutgers is in the midst of hosting the tourney for two years, and that when that expires, UConn will host the tourney at the Hartford Civic Center, and have guaranteed a 16,000-person sellout. The Big East AD's recognize the value of that atmosphere, Weaver said, even if it is a partisan UConn crowd. He said, "It's a situation that is financially-driven, and we understand that."

Ricky Stokes' Segment

There was very little hard news in the Stokes segment of the program. Here were the noteworthy items:

This week is the last week of Big East regular-season basketball. The Hokies are one game ahead of Miami in the Big East's East Division, and the Canes visit VT Wednesday (no TV). If the Hokie men win over Miami Wednesday, they will secure their first-ever trip to the Big East basketball tournament.

Miami's Darius Rice injured his hand and did not play against BC last Saturday, but he is listed as probable against VT. He had 32 points and 10 boards against the Hokies in Miami earlier this season.

It appears that the Big East will go to one division next year. Each team will have two anointed rivals that they play twice, home-and-home, every year -- VT's designated rivals will be Miami and WVU. Each team will play a third team twice in a season, and who that third team is will rotate. Other than that, all league foes will be played once, resulting in 16 regular-season conference games.

Stokes said that Carlos Dixon, in his return from his foot injury, will probably play 15 or 20 minutes against Miami.

VT is now fifth in the league in 3-point shooting percentage at 34.9% (166 of 475).

Tech Notes

The St. Bonaventure men's basketball team will forfeit all of its games, including a victory over Virginia Tech, due to the use of an ineligible player, Jamil Terrell. The forfeitures will not affect Virginia Tech's won/loss record. (Roth didn't clarify why not.)

The Tech women are on the road and play at St. John's at 7:00 Tuesday night (no TV). SJU is last place in the Big East at 2-12, 8-17 overall. Six BE teams are in the top 30 RPI, and all will probably all go to the NCAA Tournament. The Big East women's tournament is this weekend, starting Saturday, March 8th.

Coach Beamer will be on next week's Hokie Hotline show to talk about recruiting and spring football.

Monday was Day 1,239 of Tech's continuous possession of the Commonwealth Cup. As always, you can grab your Commonwealth Cup T-shirt (shown at right -- click the picture to order yours for $16.95).

- Will


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