NIU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher
Northern Illinois Associate Vice-President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher answered questions from Huskie fans for 45 minutes during his second monthly chat of the fall semester. Compher addressed a myriad of topics and will be back in October to answer more of your questions. Below is a recap of the chat from Thursday, Sept. 29.

Alexander Weiter (Chicago): I attended the game on Saturday at Solder Field.I knew Wisconsin presented NIU with physical mismatches,however,I was not pleased as an NIU alumni with the lack of competitiveness displayed under new head coach Dave Doeren.In the Jerry Kill era,Huskie fans were guaranteed the football team would fight for the full 60 minutes.I did not have that feeling.49-7 will there be another event at Solder Field and what is your assessment of the competetiveness of the team on Saturday?

Jeff Compher: Hey Huskie Fans - We are having a few technical difficulties on our website right now getting the chat going. I will be right with you, we are on the line with them now.

John (Glendale Heights): When will the 2012 divisions be announced? What is your top priority for NIU in this realignment?
Jeff Compher: Sorry about that Huskie fans. I promise to get to the answers rapid fire! The division will be announced before the end of this football season and my personal preference is to stay in the West.

DT (Wheaton): Are there plans to build up NIU's online media presence, putting out more original news, info, and game content?
Jeff Compher: Hello DT - I hope you have visited NIUHuskies.com often because we are working hard to make our online content as varying and new as possible. We are streaming games from football to basketball, soccer and volleyball. We are posting video interviews from post-game and weekly press conferences. Our blog, Huskie Happenings, contains news links and other notes of interest. We also have increased usage of our Facebook page at NIU Huskies and we are tweeting during games @NIUAthletics. If you have any other suggestions, we'd love to hear them!

John Smithson, Hinckley: Are you ever going to be on television this year? You lose fans when they cannot watch.
Jeff Compher: Hi John...Our Kansas game was televised by Fox College Sports through the Big 12 Conference and all of our other games have been available online via either ESPN3 or Huskies All Access. Our next live TV game will be the Homecoming game on Oct. 15 versus Western Michigan, which will be shown on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The following week, the Buffalo game will air on station across the region and country through an ESPN Regional telecast and we'll have that list of stations the week of the game. Then in November, you can look for us on Tuesdays with the Toledo game on ESPN2, the Bowling Green contest on ESPNU or ESPN2 and the Ball State game will be carried either on ESPNU or on ESPN3. Hope that helps.

Chuck Harmon Columbus, Ohio: I just wanted to say thanks for having the Wisconsin game at Soldier Field. My wife and I drove up from Central Ohio and made a weekend of it. Win or lose we enjoy watching the Huskies live and Soldier Field never looked better than it did all decked out in Huskie colors and NIU flags. The alumni tail gate was nice as well.
Jeff Compher: Thanks Chuck! I have received positive comments from many Huskie fans such as yourself. So glad you were able to come to the game. Kudos to the Alumni Association and to the University Office of External Relations for the banners on the Museum Campus and in the end zone. Hope you are making plans for next year's game versus Iowa!

scott (chicago): Is the proposed final budget of the ipf $10+ mil, a local paper reported it to be $7.5 mil? How is fund raising going after the big announcement? -thanks!
Jeff Compher: Hi Scott - The Chessicks' naming gift has certainly got the ball rolling for our fundraising efforts. There have been a lot of reports about the fundraising goal and we are still working with the architect and university officials to determine the exact amount. When we officially launch the campaign, we will announce the fundraising goal.

Ned (On Campus): Toledo is going to be a big game. Is NIU going to have fan/student buses for this? I know it's tough in the middle of a school week.
Jeff Compher: Hi Ned, As it is a weeknight game, it is difficult for us to do that. We hope that students and fans throughout our region will tune in and watch the game on ESPN2.

Steve: When do you think the Huskies might schedule a game down south?, a husky fan in Atlanta Georgia
Jeff Compher: Steve, I am constantly looking for games in different parts of the country as well as the Midwest. Right now I'd say we are scheduled through 2014 so it will be difficult to predict when we might be able to get down South. If there are options there, we'll certainly look at them. We do recruit in that area so it would be beneficial to have a presence there. Plus we want you to be able to come to a road game!

Mike O'Connor (Warrenville): Hi Jeff. (1) Any chance of getting Big Ten home game if we offer 2 return games and allow a BTN broadcast? (2) Would fan interest be higher with non-conference home games versus CUSA and MWC schools? (3) Any update on the MAC divisions for next year? (4) Any thoughts about where NIU and the MAC fit into the conference realignment picture? (5) Would we ever consider football-only membership in the MAC and joining the Horizon League for basketball? (6) Any chance of NIU football playing at Notre Dame? Sorry I missed you in Kansas. Hope the drive wasn't too bad. Go Huskies!!
Jeff Compher: Hi Mike! A 6-part question, you got it all in, didn't you? I will do these by number. 1 - I have not given up hope on getting a Big Ten team to come to Huskie Stadium. Based on timing, a two-for-one might work, but there are other considerations that we have to account for. It's not off the table, but it's challenging. 2 - I'm certainly open to that and have had conversations with those schools. I'd like to hear from fans on whether getting a team like Memphis or New Mexico here to Huskie Stadium is better than Army? 3 - I think we covered this one in a previous answer. 4 - I think with the addition of UMass, our conference is in a fairly stable position, but you always have to keep abreast of what's going on nationally and how that might affect the league. 5 - Have not ever considered that. I believe the MAC is the right place for us to be in all sports at this time. 6 - Now that Notre Dame has opened the door to MAC teams, that could be a possibility down the road. Thanks Mike!

Mark (Dallas, TX): Will NIU please post some pictures of Soldier Field all dressed up in NIU colors/flags. This should have been done prior to the game being played.
Jeff Compher: Hi Mark - The photos from the game definitely show the Huskie logo in the middle and the HUSKIES painted in the end zone and we are working on getting those photos posted on the website. Many of the outside area shots were and have been used by the NIU Administration on their Facebook and university pages as well.

Fernando (Joliet): After the indoor practice facility, what sports facility do you feel needs to be upgraded?
Jeff Compher: Hi Fernando - As I have stated before, I would love to see lights for our Track and Field and Soccer Complex, as well as our baseball field.

George (Lemont): What determines the ticket price at a game at Soldier Field? Isn't a full stadium @ $50/ticket better than 2/3 full @ $75/ticket? Rumor $120 4 Iowa?
Jeff Compher: George, for the Wisconsin game, we (NIU) were able to set the prices and surprisingly, the most expensive tickets were nearly sold out, while the least expensive tickets were still available. However, for the game with Iowa, we will work jointly with their athletics department to determine pricing as we will co-promote and market that game. The rumor to my knowledge is not true. That would be exorbitant in my opinion.

Steve (Sycamore): When the NCAA President says that college sports "aren't a business" does he really expect us to buy that garbage?
Jeff Compher: Hi Steve - I think what Dr. Emmert was trying to emphasize in his statement was that we need to get back to basics and concentrate on the student-athletes and their well-being and not so much on the public perception of opportunistic greed. The realignment frenzy has caused many to question the ultimate mission of college athletics at our level. He was reminding us that we are a part of a university and education is the core mission of any university.

John (Glendale Heights): Does this weeks announcement of the $20mil expansion of Hancock Stadium, for the 2013 season, give any additional urgency to getting the IPF opened by then if not sooner?
Jeff Compher: Hi John, Not really. I applaud Illinois State for their efforts in renovating their facility, but we're going to move forward with our planning and construction as quickly as possible, especially now due to the generous naming gift by the Chessicks.

Mark (Dallas): Has NIU been contacted by officials from either the Big 12 or Big East? Or, better yet, has NIU contacted the offices of either of these Conferences?
Jeff Compher: Mark, We have had NO discussions or inquiries from officials from any other league concerning our conference affiliation. I know many of our fans believe we would be a good fit for another league but as I have stated in previous responses, I believe the MAC is still the right place for us at this time. That doesn't mean you don't keep your ear to the ground and consider what the future may hold.

John (Cary, IL): What are the plans for the addition of men's track/cross country teams for NIU?
Jeff Compher: Hi John...at this time, there are no plans to add any additional sports at NIU.

Scott (Chicago): Please let us know of any new NIU related realignmentment news, if any, and what NIU and the MAC are doing to protect our FBS rights/position as things move forward. -Thanks!
Jeff Compher: Hi Scott - That's never really come into question. I think adding additional teams to our league certainly does that, as we have done with UMass. I know our conference office is keeping a watchful eye on the national scene and they constantly appraise us of any developments, but our status as an FBS conference has never come into question.

Doug (Milwaukee): Are you aware that the University at Buffalo is considering adding varsity hockey and have you thought about this option at NIU as a potential revenue sport?
Jeff Compher: I was not aware of that. Unfortunately, we don't have any ice in DeKalb or the immediate area which would likely preclude that possibility. As stated above, we have no plans to change our sport line-up at this time.

Ben (Indianapolis): You said the football schedule is set throught 2014. Any chance you can divulge what conferences are on the non-conference schedule?
Jeff Compher: Ben - We will be playing Idaho from the WAC, Wake Forest from the ACC is there for 2014. We will play Purdue in 2013 and Kansas comes to NIU next season. We are still working on one additional game for 2014 that we hope to announce this year.

Mark (Dallas, TX): What is being done to increase NIU's Basketball profile in the City of Chicago? NIU's a B-Ball sleeping GIANT with the talent in that wonderful City.
Jeff Compher: Hi Mark, Funny you asked that question because basketball coach Mark Montgomery just walked into my office. He said he agrees with you about NIU and Chicago and he and his staff have been hitting the recruiting trail HARD to "wake up" this sleeping giant and bring Northern Illinois basketball to the forefront of our league and in this region. Keep an eye on Monty and his team this year and in the future!
Jeff Compher: This looks like a good spot to close for today. Sorry we got started late due to the sunspots (ha ha) or solar flares...if you have a chance to come by and watch some college soccer in DeKalb this weekend, I hope you make it out here. We have home games Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Thanks for "chatting" and we'll do it again soon! Go Huskies!

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