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 Boston College Athletics Director Gene DeFilippo
Gene DeFilippo Chat Wrap

Boston College Athletics Director Gene DeFilippo answered questions online Tuesday (February 6) at 4 p.m. Check out the transcript of his answers.

Moderator: Thanks for logging on for our live chat today. Gene will be with you momentarily. Please stand by.
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us this afternoon. I will now attempt to answer as many of your questions as possible.

Eddie, Bethesda, Maryland: Is there any truth to the rumor that you and Coach Skinner have not spoken in over a month? Is he getting fired at the end of the year?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: There is absolutely, positively no truth to this rumor. Al and I have spoken last Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday and I will talk to him this evening once he arrives in Miami. I don't know how these rumors get started, but there's absolutely no truth to this one.

Ralph (Long Island): Do you have any future plans to improve the athletic facilties here at BC?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: We have, and we will continually upgrade and build new facilities. The way to gain a legal edge in recruiting is to provide job placement upon graduation and to have outstanding facilities. In the past two years, we have completed the $28 million Yawkey Athletics Center and are in the process of totally renovating all the offices, meeting rooms and locker rooms in Conte Forum. Our future plans call for a baseball field and a softball field to be built on the Brighton Campus, and we have numerous other projects planned for the future.

Brian (Los Angeles): Gene: Do you have plans to expand the donation-based priority seating at Alumni Stadium to include more sections of the stadium in the future?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: At this time there are no plans to expand the donor-based seating program in Alumni Stadium.

Brad (Northborough): Hey Gene, first off, Thanks for all you have been doing to help make BC sports come to the peak of success, keep up the great work. My question: Why doesn't BC make arrangements to have the big BC Men's Basketball games at the TD Banknorth Garden. I'm thinking of North Carolina, Duke and next year when Kansas comes to town. You see Villanova do it with the Wachovia Center, I just think it would be benificial to have games at the Garden if it is avaliable for the night or day (For both Duke, and UNC it has events scheduled) I think there is no doubt BC would sell out the Garden for either the Duke or UNC game. Thanks
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: There are certainly plusses and minuses for taking a basketball game from Conte Forum to the TD BankNorth Garden, but at this time, we do not plan to play any of our regular-season games away from Conte. Even though it might benefit us financially, it takes away the home-court advantage from our basketball players and causes an inconvenience for the students. We also sell luxury boxes in Conte Forum and those holding a box would not be excited about us playing downtown. So, for these reasons and more, we plan to stay on campus for our regular-season games.

Kevin McGowan (Houston, Texas): My family has carried season tickets in Football and Hockey since before you were born. Over the last ten to fifteen years the extortion of additional dollars has grown dramatically-beginning with parking and now moving towards the football tickets themselves. I have two questions and a comment: 1. How does a Jesuit institution rationalize this behavior towards its most loyal fans- many of which are on a fixed income? 2. Do you actually believe the folks who will pay the extortion today will be at the stadium when you inevitably return to the string of 3-8 teams that we loyally sat through for decades?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Let me begin by saying that we offer approximately 270 scholarships to student-athletes. Each scholarship costs approximately $45,000 per year. The total cost of those scholarships is roughly $12 million per year and we expect that total to rise each year with inflation. We are already receiving an $8.5 million subsidy from the institution to fund our Olympic sports programs. Our alumni and fans demand that we be competitive in what is arguably the best conference in America, both academically and athletically. How would you propose that we continue to fund these scholarships for our student-athletes and to continue to provide the opportunity for them to compete at the highest level? Would you propose cutting scholarships? Cutting sports programs? Not being competitive? These are the questions we continually ask ourselves. We appreciate the support our most loyal fans have given us throughout the years, but ticket revenues are no longer enough to offset our expenses.

Mike (NY, NY): As a former BC athlete it concerns me that some of our top coaches (baseball and football) are leaving our school for more lucrative offers within our conference? It reflects poorly that we can't pay a competive salary vs. our peers. Both Hughes and O'Brien put their respective programs on the map at BC. What is preventing us from paying a competitive coaches' salary?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Let me start by asking how many institutions in the country have had a football coach, a basketball coach, a women's basketball coach and a hockey coach for a period of 10 consecutive years? The answer is, very few. I'm not going to discuss reasons why Tom O'Brien and Pete Hughes left Boston College, but I can assure you that we pay very, very competitive salaries and it bothers me that other rumors exist out there to the contrary.

Joe (New Canaan CT): Why don't you try to schedule a few more bb games in the NYC area?(like at Seton Hall, St John's or MSG). Most of the TV broadcasts are not carried down here. There are lot's of alumni and prospective recruits in this area. How about it?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: We would like to schedule more basketball games in the New York City area, and we are talking about a series with St. John's in the near future. There's been nothing signed as of yet, but both institutions would like to play.

Sam- Westminster, MD: Now that we are in our second season in the ACC- will the Men's basketball team look to attract tougher non-conference opponents during the regular season ?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: I guess I don't understand what a tough non-conference schedule consists of. Our non-conference schedule included Kansas, Michigan State, Providence, UMass and Rhode Island (who are tied for first place in the A-10). To me, that's a pretty attractive non-conference schedule.

James (Hollywood, CA):: Gene- Wanted to say it's long overdue that BC use donor-based seating at Alumni. Don't listen to your critics! Secondly, Who are some of our future out of conference opponents in football, after the Notre Dame contract expires?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: The Notre Dame contract calls for two games in South Bend, in 2007 and 2009, and two games in Boston, in 2008 and 2010. We have been in discussions with Notre Dame concerning additional games, and I am very hopeful that we will be able to announce something in the near future. Other non-conference opponents will include Army, Syracuse, some MAC teams, as well as one New England team each season.

Dan- Fenwick Hall: I am glad that the ACC baseball tournament is coming to Boston in 2009. What is the likelihood of the ACC men's basketball tournament coming to Boston in the future?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: We have been aggressive in trying to bring the tournament to Boston at some point in the future. We'll continue to try to garner support to get that done.

ryan(boston): is this a rebiulding year for bc football? or is jeff Jagodzinski going to go for an acc championship and other titles?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: This is not a rebuilding year for our football team. Coach Jagodzinski has every intention of playing to win the ACC Championship.

Brandon (Easton, PA): What is Steve Aponavicius' future as a BC kicker and how much of a scholarship will he be getting?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Steve Aponavicius was granted a full scholarship by Coach Jagodzinski, beginning in the fall of 2007.

Joe I., New York City: Hi Coach Gene. Regarding the entire Sean Williams/Akida McClain incident, I think it's fair to say that many teams in the nation would have "turned the other way," so to speak. What do you think that these two players' dismissals says about the character of Coach Skinner, yourself, and BC sports, as a whole?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Al Skinner is a man of great integrity, and we at BC will never sacrifice our integrity or our academics in order to win a few more games.

Joe I., New York City: Hi Coach Gene. The Superfans desperately want a "Midnight Madness" for the basketball team. They deserve it, especially with all the success they've had the past few years. Why is BC one of the few top-tier basketball schools that does not have such a tradition like the others?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Having worked at both Kentucky and Villanova, where Midnight Madness was very important, I understand why our students and fans would be interested in having one here at Boston College. At the present time, however, Coach Skinner is not in favor of Midnight Madness, so we have not and will not press the issue.

Ari (Chestnut Hill): Would athletics ever consider selling student tickets on a game-by-game basis, thus forcing students who buy tickets to go (rather than selling them or simply staying at home) or is the moneyed gained off of selling out tickets to the less popular teams in packages withe the big games too much to part with?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Last season, the BC student no-shows averaged approximately 40%. This year, that number is closer to 22%. We have tried several different ideas, and I would welcome any suggestions to help us to get more students to attend all of our regular-season games.

Alex (Tampa, FL): Gene, can you shed any light on when the series with Syracuse football will start up? Are you working to get this to be BC's out-of-conference yearly rivalry game?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: We have signed an eight-year deal with Syracuse, beginning with the 2010 football season. It is our hope that the BC-Syracuse game would be played on Thanksgiving weekend each year.

Pete, Atlanta: I know fan support has been a big issue for you with our move to the ACC. What do you think needs to be done to keep improving the atmosphere at our games?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: I can't imagine a better atmosphere than the Florida State football game or the Duke basketball game last year. Our students and fans certainly know how to provide a tremendous advantage for our teams. Like almost everyone else, I'd like to see that atmosphere every game, and would certainly welcome any ideas you might have.

Mike '95 NYC: Gene, can you comment on how we are marketing BC football? The Fenway Sports partnership has seen limited results in my opinion. Some games are not on television and compared to a school like Rutgers, which has a huge marketing presence in NJ, we can't compare. Boston is a pro sports town and to overcome that there needs to be more marketing. This would help attendance and coverage of the team.
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Again, I'm not sure I understand what marketing means in your question. We played 13 games last season; 11 were on TV and the other two were available live on the Internet. Many of those were nationally televised games. I think the ACC has done a wonderful job of marketing our conference.

Jay (St. Louis): Gene, I think you're doing an excellent job. The transition to the ACC seemed rather smooth. However, the athletic program remains in relative anonymity nationally (I still have to explain to some that BC is a distinctly different school than BU in middle America). How do you plan to elevate the program to a nationally recognized brand, and have you considered more online broadcasts of sporting events for those of us left in the dark? On another note, the oldest BC alumni association west of New York needs your help in hosting our BC alums at the Frozen Four. Can you help us petition for more ticket/box access at the ScottTrade Center in April (hope I'm not being presumptuous)? Thanks.
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: I'm not sure how to answer this question, because at one time or another, nine different Boston College teams were ranked in the top 25 in the nation last season. We have had more televised football and basketball games than ever before. We have played in six Frozen Fours in the past nine years, and we are receiving nearly 30,000 applications for 2,200 openings in the freshman class each year. I think we become more and more national each and every year.

James (Boston): No other teams in the ACC start off with three straight conference games. Did you have a say in the conference schedule process? Did you find this a little unfair?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Conference institutions have very little to say regarding the scheduling process. We play eight conference games and four non-conference games, so it's not really an advantage or a disadvantage to play three conference games early. We have to play them sometime, and the other teams don't have any more or less time to prepare than we do.

Kevin (New Canaan, CT): Hey Gene, I have been frustrated by the "fans" that habitually enter games late and leave games early. While it is frustrating in Football, it is even more pronounced in Basketball and Hockey. All three of these teams have acheived great success in the past few years and deserve more support. With hundreds, maybe thousands, of fans being locked out of games because of their inability to get tickets, do you anticipate that this trend will continue? Do you think that the donor-based seating will contribute to or remedy the problem of the "indifferent" fan?
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: I agree with you, and I would say that we are all frustrated when a majority of the fans arrive late to the games. I don't think donor-based seating will have an effect on this one way or the other.
BC Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo: Thanks again, everyone, for submitting your questions. I'll plan on conducting another one of these sessions in the near future. Go Eagles!