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Lynn Hickey newsletter

The AD's Corner — Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015


Conference USA logo

Conference USA Members Adopt Changes
As this newsletter reaches you, I’m traveling back from the Conference USA winter meetings in Florida. In an effort to provide increased financial support to student-athletes, improve health and safety precautions and remain competitive with other NCAA athletics programs, C-USA member institutions voted this week to adopt legislation recently passed by the five conferences that have been granted autonomy by the NCAA.

At last week’s NCAA Convention, the 65 schools in the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC voted to pay the cost of attendance for student-athletes, guarantee four-year scholarships, adopt a new concussion protocol and allow student-athletes to purchase insurance policies against their potential earnings as professional athletes. Other Division I conference members were not allowed to vote initially but were allowed to adopt provisions adopted by those five conference.

The most complex and costly of these provisions is cost of attendance. Traditional athletic scholarships cover tuition, fees, room, board and books. Cost of attendance allows universities to cover travel to and from home, clothes and other expenses up to the full amount a traditional student might spend annually. Authorized cost of attendance figures for C-USA member schools vary from $2,000 to $5,000 per student.

C-USA has allowed each member institution to determine if and how it will award cost of attendance grants. Over the next few weeks, UTSA will be reviewing what is best and most fair for our student-athletes and what is financially feasible. The other important consideration is the need to stay competitive with our peers by offering scholarships of equal value to prospective student-athletes.

These are challenging times in intercollegiate athletics. The way we conduct business is changing. UTSA will continue to be proactive and tuned in to national changes. This will require tough decisions and will place even more difficult financial pressure on our staff and coaches. I will keep you informed as we move forward.


Akunna Elonu mug shot
Akunna Elonu

Women’s Basketball Knocks Off No. 24 Western Kentucky
Akunna Elonu sprang off the bench and calmly hit two free throws to give UTSA (9-10, 4-3 C-USA) a stunning come-from-behind 64-63 win against No. 24 Western Kentucky (17-3, 6-1 C-USA) last Saturday at the Convocation Center. The junior forward was inserted into the lineup for Mannasha Bell who was fouled and forced to leave the court with an injury with just three seconds to play.

Downing the first-place Lady Toppers provided UTSA’s first-ever win against a ranked team. The Roadrunners overcame a 16-point second half deficit to end WKU’s 14-game winning streak. UTSA had been 0-17 against nationally ranked opponents entering the game.

The Roadrunners will look to make it four consecuitve wins when they visit Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take on Middle Tennessee (11-5, 5-1 C-USA) at 7 p.m. on Thursday. UTSA then moves on to Birmingham, Ala., to face UAB (9-9, 3-3 C-USA) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.


Jeromie Hill mug shot
Jeromie Hill

Hill Named Conference USA Player of the Week
Conference USA Player of the Week Jeromie Hill will help lead the men’s basketball team against two of the conference’s top four programs this week at the Convocation Center.

The Roadrunners (9-9, 3-4 C-USA) host fourth-place Middle Tennessee (12-8, 5-2 C-USA) at 7 p.m. on Thursday and take on second-place UAB (10-10, 6-1 C-USA) at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Hill scored a career-high 36 points in last Thursday's 82-68 victory at Marshall. The Cairns, Australia, native registered the highest single-game scoring effort by a C-USA player this season and the most by a UTSA player in Brooks Thompson’s nine seasons as head coach. The senior scored 23 points in the first half to match the Thundering Herd’s halftime total as a team.

Against first-place Western Kentucky (14-5, 7-0 C-USA) on Saturday, Hill shrugged off early foul trouble to score 18 points. The 6-foot-8 forward now has 1,497 career points and he has moved into fourth place on the school’s all-time scoring list.


2015 UTSA Football Signing Day Sneak Preview Schedueld For Next Wednesday Evening
Head football coach Larry Coker will unveil the 2015 signing class to season ticket holders and donors at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday, Feb. 4, at the Santikos Palladium IMAX Theater at The Rim.

In addition to Coach Coker and members of his staff, the sneak preview will be attended by up to 18 high school early enrollees, grayshirt signees from 2014, junior college transfers, major college transfers and walk-ons who all began attending classes this month. The Roadrunners are expected to sign up to 25 players on National Signing Day.

Complimentary food and drink will be provided by DOCUmation, the official communications company for UTSA Athletics. To assure adequate seating in the theater to watch highlights and hear the UTSA coaching staff’s assessments of this year’s signees, please RSVP by emailing rowdy@utsa.edu or calling (210) 458-8566 by tomorrow.


Huston Street
Huston Street

Huston Street To Headline UTSA First Pitch Banquet
Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Huston Street is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the UTSA baseball team's annual First Pitch Banquet at 6 p.m. next Saturday, Feb. 7, at the H-E-B University Center Ballroom on the Main Campus. The annual banquet is a prelude to the 2015 season, which begins on Feb. 13 with a three-game home series against Louisiana-Lafayette at Roadrunner Field.

Street was a 2004 first round draft pick by the Oakland Athletics after a successful career at Texas. The son of former Texas quarterback James Street was called up to the Athletics in 2005 and was named American League Rookie of the Year. Street spent three more seasons with the A's before stints with the Colorado Rockies (2008-11), San Diego Padres (2012-13) and Toronto Blue Jays (2014). The current closer for the Angels was named an All-Star in 2012 and 2014.

The First Pitch Banquet is held each year to raise funds for the UTSA baseball program. Those wishing to attend the banquet can register online by clicking here or calling (210) 458-4811. Admission is $75 per seat and dress is business casual.


Soccer Earns Outstanding Mentoring Program Award
The UTSA women’s soccer program received the Outstanding Mentoring Program Award recently at the Third Annual Texas Mentoring Summit.

Interim head coach Greg Sheen and his players helped create the LEADERS Program (Loyal Enthusiastic Athletes Devoted and Eager to Reach Students) at Jefferson Middle School. The student-athletes met with JMS students before and after school in an effort to assist classroom teachers.


Lynn Hickey at Woman-To-Woman Conference
Athletics Director Lynn Hickey speaks to participants at last Thursday's Woman-to-Woman Conference at the on-campus Chili’s. UTSA student-athletes who attended the networking event prior to the women’s basketball game against Marshall are in the background.

Final Thoughts
Last Thursday at the on-campus Chili’s Express, the athletics staff collaborated with Dr. Susan Blackwood and the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to host a networking event that brought together women transitioning from the military, military veterans, UTSA student-athletes and business women from throughout the community.

The “Woman to Woman, Leader to Leader” event's goal was to connect military women and UTSA student-athletes with potential mentors and possible job opportunities. Many of those attending completed their evening watching the women’s basketball game against Marshall at the Convocation Center.

The gathering of about 50 women is one of several events and activities held each year in an effort to help UTSA student-athletes transition from their playing careers to business careers.

Career Counselor Stefanie Cisneros works with student-athletes throughout college to identify their career choices, gain experience in those areas and find permanent employment upon graduation.

Cisneros teaches a three-hour career planning course made available to all student-athletes. She also helps them build resumes, prepare for job interviews and identify permanent and part-time job opportunities, along with matching business professionals with student-athletes for career mentoring.

The introduction of football has increased Cisneros’s job responsibilities significantly. This year, UTSA has 146 student-athletes classified as seniors. Thirty-five graduated in December and another 40-50 will graduate this spring.

Student-athletes have little time during their playing careers to do more than go to school, practice, travel to away games and train during offseasons. Time for internships and part-time jobs is rare.

Members of the UTSA24 golf support group recognized this limitation more than six years ago upon its formation. Individual UTSA24 members annually donate $2,500 or more to the men’s and women’s golf programs. They also volunteer and are assigned to a golfer to mentor and serve as a career counselor.

So far seven men’s and women’s golfers have been placed in permanent jobs or internships by UTSA24 members. Three recent graduates who chose to pursue professional playing careers have been counselled by UTSA24 members on their business affairs and financing while on a pro tour.

Cisneros currently is planning an April 6 networking event that will be attended by dozens of corporate recruiters looking for student-athletes interested in internships and permanent employment.

Business professionals with permanent and part-time job opportunities as well as internships, and those who would like to serve as mentors to UTSA student-athletes, should contact Cisneros at stefanie.cisneros@utsa.edu or at (210) 458-7730.

I hope to see you this week at one of our men’s basketball games at the Convocation Center. Your presence will help push us up the Conference USA standings and improve our seeding for the conference tournament, which is scheduled for March 11-14 in Birmingham, Ala.

Go Runners!

Sincerely,

Lynn Hickey
Director of Athletics

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