Category Archives: Katz on the Cats

Huber’s first appearance

(5:45 p.m.): I spent the day down in Georgetown, Ky., covering the Bengals for CBSSports.com – one training camp practice finished, 16 to go – and I caught up with former Bearcats punter Kevin Huber.

(If you’re interested in the CBSSports.com Bengals Rapid Reports, check ‘em out here.)

Huber, as you might know, is the only punter in Cincinnati’s camp, meaning he’s going to have to be absolutely terrible not to win the job. He was a little short with a few of his punts this afternoon, but at least one of his high spirals were met with appreciative mumblings from the crowd here at Toyota Stadium on the Georgetown College campus.

Read the rest here.

Part II on ticket sales

(11:19 a.m.): Earlier this week, I talked about the new plan for a segment of upper-deck basketball season tickets – $150 for 18 games – and how more than 15,000 football season tickets have been sold.

If you need a refresher, click here. If not, let’s continue the discussion on why UC has continued to set records selling football season tickets in an economy that isn’t exactly blasting skyward.

For one, the Bearcat Lair section in the North end zone continues to sell out every year. Senior associate athletic Mike Waddell explains why.

“We’ve built relationships and people feel like they’re getting a great value,” he said. “People had to get a buy-in. In 2007, that was an area that we definitely looked at as having a Dawg Pound-like area or like the Black Hole in Oakland. We looked at that, and to get people to sit there, we have to make it worth their while. It was $10 a game. An absolute no-brainer. That sold out really quick. The next year, it’s supply and demand. We’re sold out of it, and $10 is not the medium ticket price in the Big East, especially for wonderful seats.”

Read the rest here.

Breaking season tix news

(2:09 p.m.): Went to UC on Monday to talk to Mike Waddell, associate athletic director extraordinaire, about football season tickets and how those were selling. In the process, he let slip about a new offer for basketball season tickets that Waddell says you can’t find anywhere else in the Big East.

First, the basketball season tickets news.

I’m sure you know about the Bearcat Lair football season ticket packages the UC administration has put together the past few years, which basically allows fans to grab those North end zone seats for a cheaper-than-normal price (two years ago, season tickets in that area cost $60; this year, it went for $160 (the past three years, by the way, those 1,750 Bearcat Lair seats have sold out, including the 2009 campaign)).

Well, the Bearcats are using the same brand name for 5/3 Arena. Basically, UC will put on sale a block of the seats in the upper level (non-seat backs) and price it at $150 for the 18-game schedule. To Waddell, the deal – which works out to $8.33 a seat per game – is a no-brainer.

To read the rest, click right here.

On Twittering and Tweeting

(10:17 a.m.): When Jamelle Elliott took the UC women’s basketball coaching job, she was besieged with Follow-me-on-Twitter requests. Her first reaction? What in the heck is Twitter?

While Twitter is silly, a time-waster and self-promoting – and this coming from a guy who’s on Twitter for much of the day – it also can be rather useful. For a coach like Elliott, who is searching for ways to build interest in her program, Twitter is a much-needed commodity.

“In talking to my coaching friends, they feel like it’s a good way to market yourself and get your basketball program out in the cyber world,” said Elliott, also known as @JamelleElliott. “It shows the positive things you’re doing with your program. Just getting publicity and exposure for your program. As far as the Internet is concerned, you can’t get better access. It’s probably better than any advertising or letters that you’re writing. It’s a way for more people to grasp what I’m trying to do for the program. It’s something I wanted to do right away.”

Read the rest here.

Interesting responses to interesting exercise

(3:36 p.m.): I figured I might leave somebody out of my “True to your School” blog post, but I figured you, my glorious readers, would point out the flaws of my argument. And I was correct.

So, thanks for everybody who e-mailed me or left me a comment on the ol’ web site. In case your mind needs refreshing, here’s the original blog post from last week. In a nutshell, the game was to pick UC’s top athlete/performer/personality in basketball, football, baseball and a wild card. I went a step further and picked a No. 2 (which, in retrospect, was probably the reason I got most of the comments).

Read the rest here.

Mick talks about L. Stephenson

(4:58 p.m.): It was billed as a mid-summer news conference with UC basketball coach Mick Cronin and senior-to-be Deonta Vaughn, and though Mick started off his statement talking about what the rest of the Bearcats were doing this summer, it was pretty clear why the media turned out today.

The Tuesday signing of Lance Stephenson, the reasons why UC went after him, and what, if any concerns, Mick has with getting him eligible.

Here’s the lede I wrote for the AP:

Read the rest here.

A little preseason predicting

(12:09 p.m.): Since I had to turn in my Big East preseason predictions to the conference last week, I figured I’d release my ballot and tell you my reasoning for picking the way that I did.

2. UC: Naturally, we’ll talk the Bearcats football program to death these next few months – present and otherwise. The defense will have to replace 10 starters, but I don’t think that dooms UC. The offense is probably the best in the conference, and as long as the defense doesn’t hurt the Bearcats, they’re going to compete for another major bowl game.

Read the rest here.

The future of Nippert Stadium

(10:22 a.m.): After the Brian Kelly contract news conference Monday, in which we discussed the removal of the practice bubble/practice facility clause from his contract, I also wanted to talk about the future of Nippert Stadium.

I asked Mike Thomas if there was anything specific in BK’s new contract regarding upgrades to Nippert (there aren’t) and I asked BK if he had shifted his thinking about playing more games at Paul Brown Stadium (at this point, he’d rather play home games at Nippert). To me, it’s an issue that will play a role in determining how seriously a player the administration thinks football can be in the next decade or so (whether BK is here or not).

A few months ago, during a football spring practice, Thomas and I talked for a while about the state of the stadium and what could be done to upgrade it into a facility that could generate more revenue streams. What I took from the conversation: it’s going to be tough to expand the stadium past, say, 45,000 seats, and it’s going to cost a boatload of money to put in club seats and private boxes. Tens of millions of dollars that would take many years to pay itself off.

Read the rest here.

Thursday afternoon mailbag

(2:43 p.m.): Well, we haven’t done one of these in a while. Little mailbag time, based on this blog post I wrote earlier this week.

And if you don’t want to reread the blog entry, the main point I made was Mick Cronin’s contract extension was probably a good move made by UC AD Mike Thomas. Here’s the nut graf (thought it came at the end of the post, making it more of the kicker):

Check here for the rest of the blog post.

EXCEPT for the promised BONUS question that I’m inserting here:

From Darrell:

That was a nice article about Mick and the contract extension. However, I don’t agree that the basketball program is getting better under Mick…What happened at the end of last year is inexcusable…Going into the season last year with one point guard is inexcusable…Playing players such as: Rashad Bishop and Alvin Mitchell was inexcusable…. UC basketball is dead at this point in time…It will remain so until Mr. Thomas pulls the trigger on getting UC another head basketball coach…Mick is NOT the answer! Thomas hired Brian Kelly…and gets an A + for that… However, Mick is dragging down his grade point average.

I don’t disagree with some of the points here. Yes, the end of last season was horrible. Yes, Rashad Bishop hasn’t been great so far in his UC career (5.4 points per game) and Alvin Mitchell was pretty much a disaster. Yes, UC basketball isn’t as nationally-relevant as it was under Huggins. But if you’re saying UC basketball has not improved, I think there’s some sort of ax to grind. The win total has increased (although yes, the non-conference schedule isn’t quite as juicy), the players have improved (remember, Marcus Sikes was the starting center in Mick’s first year) and UC was competitive in the Big East last year. UC had a chance at an NCAA tournament berth. You can’t say the same about Mick’s first two teams.

The extension of Mick

(10:40 a.m.): I sat down with Mick Cronin in early April, and while we discussed the end of last season and what he could expect for next year – as detailed in this blog post – we also got off track a bit.

I asked him about what I perceived as fan negativity with the state of the basketball program. Mick didn’t really address that, probably because he didn’t feel that he needed to answer those types of questions. He said he was more focused on the fans who are with the team – the 6,000 or so that entered Fifth Third Arena for games – than those who wanted to bash him and his players.

It’s perfectly understandable, and when he said that the Mick-bashers were a vast, but vocal, minority, it made sense. If you go by message boards and e-mails, the will of the people says that Mick should have been fired last season after the Bearcats had such a horrendous end to the year. But Mick comes into contact with dozens of more UC basketball fans than I do on a daily basis. For the most part, he said, those people were supportive. Those people wanted to see him stay as the Bearcats coach and to succeed there.

Read the rest here.