Keith Hackett, a UNR associate athletic director, oversees sports facilities and construction so that athletes have a place to play. He’s also in charge of tickets and operations so that fans have a means to watch them. He offers some pointers for new students to make the most of their athletic opportunities.
What kind of athletic opportunities do incoming freshman have?
With regard to intercollegiate athletics, all students at the University of Nevada are allowed to come to our events at no charge. The fees they pay, the student fees that are assessed to them per credit hour, will allow them to attend all our home events at no charge, which I think is a great benefit if students take advantage of it. There are some venues where there’s limited seating. With football, we have about 3,500 tickets that we allocate to students, and in basketball, a little over 1,300 are allocated for every home game. It really hasn’t been a problem with regard to football, a couple of games during the year we use all of our student tickets, but if students don’t get a ticket to the game, and we’re out of our student allocation, we allow students to buy tickets for $5 to football games. Same thing for basketball. We have 1,300, I think 1,350 tickets for basketball. There was a lot of demand for basketball tickets last year with the success of the team. … With football and basketball, we do have a student ticket pickup that happens weekly at the Jot Travis Student Union. The week of home events, students can go to the JTSU on Monday morning and pick up tickets for Saturday’s game. They have to have a valid I.D., and they have to make it one ticket per I.D., which kind of expedites the process on game day. … But I think every sport—women’s soccer, volleyball is active at the Virginia Street gym, softball over at the new softball complex, baseball, women’s basketball and men’s basketball at Lawlor—we have plenty of venues close to campus, all within walking distance for students, and we just encourage students to come.
What about students who want to start something like a dodgeball team. Can they do that?
We [at the athletic department] don’t really deal with that. That’s more of a Campus Recreation issue, with regard to club sports. There’s a number of club teams that are available for students.
You mentioned you oversee facilities. Are there any new facilities projects happening?
Well, right now, the construction going on outside Legacy Hall is our new Athletic Academic Performance Center. We currently have a very antiquated facility in the bottom of the Virginia Street Gym, where student athletes study and do their computer work and get their advising and tutoring. So this building that we’re building right now provides a better environment for student athletes to study. We broke ground on that project in June, and we’ll be complete by April of 2008.
And that’s specifically for athletes. Why do they need something especially for them?
Good question. I think it’s because their schedules are so tight with regard to practice, and they have very limited free time. Plus, with the amount of travel student athletes do, I think they just need a place where it’s steady. We have required study tables, and student athletes have to go a minimum of six hours a week, so it’s a venue where they can work in private, where we know we can track what they’re doing study-wise. If they have a paper to write, we have a new computer lab where they can work. … I should point out that this project is all funded with external dollars—no state dollars, no student dollars, nothing.
Could you give the new students a synopsis of the last season?
I think last season was probably the greatest success overall for Wolf Pack athletics. We won the Commissioner’s Cup for the first time. Commissioner’s Cup is an award given to us by the Western Athletic Conference for the athletic program that had the greatest success in the past year. We won conference championships in soccer, men’s basketball, men’s golf, and swimming. We had four conference champions, went to our second bowl game in a row, went to our fifth NCAA tournament for the men. Our women’s basketball competed in their first post-season tournament—they played the women’s NIT [National Invitation Tournament] last year. … We think we’re bound to have another great year this year. All we need now are for students to come.