For as good of a football product that Colorado State has put on the field over the last dozen years, athletic department officials have been puzzled by their inability to get over the 9,000 to 10,000 season ticket sales plateau. With an additional 4,400 endzone seats added to Hughes Stadium last year, the athletic department sees a potential to bring in much more revenue by selling more season tickets. To help out, Colorado State has recently signed a deal with a marketing company that specializes in ticket sales. An announcement should be made this week.
The athletic department hasn't waited to implement some of its own ticket strategies for the upcoming football season. First, CSU is offering a new family discount in which fans can purchase four or more discounted season tickets in the north end zone for adults ($125, a savings of $20) and children ages 3-18 ($65 for children, a savings of $10). Second, fans can now buy two different "miniplans" where tickets to three selected home games will cost just $85--a $15 savings. Third, youths under the age of 18 can buy a ticket for $1 when accompanying an adult with a full-priced ticket to the Rams' final home game of 2005, November 12 against San Diego State. Lastly, officials have revamped the McDonald's kids tickets promotion, making 200 free tickets available to youths at the stadium on game day on a first-come, first-served basis. Previously, tickets had to picked up at participating McDonalds restaurants. McDonalds will still sponsor the promotion and will offer a coupon on the reverse side of the ticket. For more information, call 800-491-RAMS.
With the NCAA recently certifying a permanent 12th game starting with the 2006 college football season, athletic directors across the nation will be scrambling to find future opponents. CSU athletic director Mark Driscoll has said publicly that the Rams will likely look to fill the 12th game with Division I-AA opponents. However, word has it that CSU is looking into the possibility of making a one-time trip to Lincoln, Neb. in 2006. The Cornhuskers are unlikely to agree to a home-and-home deal with the Rams, but a two-for-one could be a possibility. On a separate note, an Internet media site for the Georgia Bulldogs reported Friday that the Bulldogs are interested in signing a future series with the University of Colorado, but added that they'd inquire with CSU if the Buffaloes aren't interested.
The 2005 Green and Gold game last Saturday was one of the more successful spring games in CSU history. With weather cooperating, around 4,000 fans attended. Hundreds showed up early for the annual free pancake breakfast, in which CSU Spirit Committee members served an estimated 1,500 flapjacks.
The delay in installing new artificial turf at Sonny Lubick Field will allow athletic department officials to spend some time reconsidering whether to keep real grass. In the meantime, the athletic department plans to purchase a tarp to cover the entire field, which according to groundskeepers is a cost-effective way to prevent the field from becoming slick/icy during the colder months of the season. The tarp would cost in the range of $60,000.
CSU's "Junior Day" workouts, which were snowed out in mid-April, will likely not be made up. CSU coaches will be on the road recruiting for most of the month of May, so there won't be another chance to host the event. Only around 12 athletes were able to make it to campus due to the snowstorm.
The new Ram Zone tent, which debuted last season on the south side of Hughes Stadium, will make its return this year, despite being thrashed by a windstorm late last season. There will be a slight change this year: The pregame format will remain the same with food and drinks being served (Ram Club members can enter for $6; non-members for $10); however, the athletic department plans on moving the "fifth quarter" back to the Hughes Room. There, Sonny Lubick or an assistant coach will speak to Ram Club members (at the Executive Level and above) and recap the game.
From "the where are the now?" file, former Ram center Joe Vogel has played professional basketball ever since graduating from Colorado State in 1996. After failing to pan out as a Seattle Supersonics second-round draft pick (45th selection overall), Vogel headed overseas and has made a solid career of playing in leagues in Turkey, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon, and has been with two different Lebanese teams in recent years. But his career hasn't been a bed of roses, and on occasion, has even been life threatening. In 2002, he competed on the Lebanese national team in the 2002 Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championships in Shanghai. In that tournament, Lebanon faced eventual champ China twice, pitting Vogel against current Houston Rockets center Yao Ming. China beat Lebanon twice in the tournament (once in the quarterfinals and again in the finals). It was the quarterfinals game that most will remember, as it featured a free-for-all brawl in which one Chinese player grabbed a pair of the trainer's scissors and tried to stab Lebanese players. Vogel was one of two players sent to the hospital with a gash on his head. More recently, as a reminder of harsh political climate in which he lives, the Al Riyadi Beirut franchise (who he now plays for) was rocked when former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in a car bombing in Beirut on Feb. 14. Hariri was part owner of the team. Vogel acquired Lebanese citizenship after marrying Maisha Fields who was a former CSU Golden Pom and is of Lebanese decent. Vogel has tried catching on with the NBA several times, participating in the Denver Nuggets' training camp in 2002 and the Utah Jazz free agent minicamp in 2003. He suffered a back injury in the summer of 2004 and underwent back surgery, but is back to full strength and one of the premier players in the league. Vogel, who stands 6-11, 255 lb, is a star on the Al Riyadi Beirut squad, which went undefeated in the Lebanese League and is currently playing in the league finals. Vogel was named MVP of Game 1 with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
One of Vogel's former teammates, swingman Dwayne Molyneaux (1989-93), is no longer playing basketball, but he's still involved in the sport. The Denver Nuggets hired him in January 2004 as their director of team services/player liaison. Kiki Vandeweghe made the hire so that he could focus on basketball and have someone else oversee the off-court details. Molyneaux helps show free agents around Denver during the offseason. Last year, he was the one to accept the Denver Athletic Club's Pro Athlete of the Year Award on behalf of Carmelo Anthony when Anthony could not attend the awards ceremony. In addition to his role with the Nuggets, Molyneaux works for the Department of Human Services in Englewood as a youth counselor. Following his collegiate career, Molyneaux enjoyed a brief professional stint playing in Brazil and Italy.
Colorado State recently hired Eric Troutman, from Louisiana Tech, as the new Director of Basketball Operations. The job is an administrative position that was held by 2004 CSU graduate Trent Fechter last year. Troutman, a 2003 graduate of Louisiana Tech, is already on campus.
CSU athletics officials are finalizing a plan to encourage recent graduates to join the Ram Club. The new plan, which is scheduled to launch at the Alumni Association's Zereunion celebration luncheon Wednesday, will enable recent graduates to sign up for the Ram Club at a discounted rate. The goal is to get young graduates to join early and keep them involved for the long haul. In addition, CSU athletics officials are also finalizing a student Ram Club, designed to create awareness of the Ram Club among current students. The general idea is that students will be able to sign up to become Ram Club members for free, and get various benefits for doing so. This new plan will be announced/launched during freshman summer orientations and then again during the first week of classes in August.
RamNationer "Inverted Ram" (Craig S.) has raised nearly $10,000 for the family of his good friend Trae Pepper who passed away in March from liver cancer. Craig has received around $8,000 in checks, $1,000 through PayPal, and nearly $500 from the Trae Pepper Memorial Poker Tournament that several RamNationers conducted last week. The money will be put into a fund set up/managed by Pete Rebstock at UBS Financial Services. Trae's children's elementary school also plans to sell bracelets and give the proceeds to the Pepper family. If you would like to donate, please visit the Pray for Trae page.
You can spend an evening of CSU football and fellowship in an intimate setting with head football coach Sonny Lubick Thursday, May 12, 2005 (6:30 p.m.) at the home of Bruce and Susan Lipien in Arvada. There will be a silent auction, and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Tickets cost $100/person. The athletic department needs your RSVP as soon as possible. Call 970-491-4666 for more information and to reserve your spot.