The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Survey says…

Athletic department surveys reveal thoughts on all things SMU

Half of SMU students have either a positive or somewhat positive impression of SMU Athletics according to a research study conducted by the SMU Athletic Department in April 2007. But nearly 30 percent have a negative view of the athletic programs on the Hilltop.

The survey was the first comprehensive market research survey conducted in the history of the department and polled three groups: students, stakeholders (alumni, season ticket holders and Mustang Club members) and unaffiliated Dallas area residents.

Stakeholder numbers were slightly better with nearly 60 percent having a positive impression with less than 5 percent having a negative view.

Sixty five percent of Dallas area respondents had a positive or somewhat positive impression – the highest of any of the three groups. Again, less than 5 percent of residents had a negative view. But the report notes that the positive impressions do not translate into interest in SMU Athletics. Rather, the numbers suggest that it should be easier to attract those people to SMU when efforts are made.

“I was surprised that in Dallas we weren’t viewed negatively,” said associate athletic director for Marketing and Public Relations Richard Sweet, the person responsible for the surveys occurring. “It’s an opportunity, definitely.”

Dallas residents were asked to rank their level of interest in local teams. SMU football came in sixth and men’s basketball came in seventh, with 51 and 45 percent respectively. Women’s basketball came in tenth with 31 percent. The Mavericks came in first with 87 percent, followed by the Cowboys, Rangers, Stars and TCU football. TCU men’s basketball came in eighth with 42 percent, with women’s basketball beating out SMU’s team at ninth with 32 percent.

The results are being used to develop a marketing campaign to target each audience. The campaign is expected to roll out in mid to late July. Athletic department officials will use the survey numbers are to gauge how the different audiences view their efforts and how they can improve in certain areas.

Questions ranged from evaluating SMU teams and coaches to the game day experience to the teams SMU plays. In most cases the students were the harshest on various aspects of the athletic department.

Half of SMU students and 60 percent of stakeholders believe Phil Bennett is capable of developing a winning program.

70 percent of students and 65 percent of stakeholders have a positive outlook for the 2007 football season.

Basketball head coach Matt Doherty got even higher marks – 87 percent of students and 80 percent of stakeholders believe he is capable of developing a winning program.

In all three groups, nearly two-thirds of the respondents say SMU athletics is moving in the right direction.

Only 18 percent of students identified themselves as die-hard SMU football fans compared with 30 percent of the stakeholders. Most students, 30 percent each, classified themselves as avid or casual fans. Stakeholders had similar numbers for avid and casual fans.

70 percent of stakeholders would recommend SMU football to friends or other family members.

11 percent of students said they were die-hard SMU basketball fans, with 20 percent saying avid and nearly 35 percent saying casual. Stakeholder numbers were similar for those categories.

Athletic Director Steve Orsini earned high marks across the board – nearly 75 percent of students and 60 percent of stakeholders and Dallas residents viewed him positively or somewhat positively.

Students ranked football games as the most entertaining, followed by men’s basketball and men’s soccer. All three women’s sports – basketball, volleyball and soccer – were perceived as boring.

Stakeholders had the same views as students on men’s sports, but said they were indifferent to the women’s sports – not bored.

Both students and stakeholders had harsh views of Conference USA, with more than half of each group viewing the conference as weak in football. Both groups were kinder in the basketball assessment, with 35 percent saying the conference was weak in basketball.

Stakeholders were generally satisfied with the in-game experience at athletic events. The Mustang Band received the highest approval rating – nearly 80 percent were very satisfied or satisfied with their efforts. The cheerleaders received 65 percent and pom squad/dance team received 62.

Dallas residents were asked to rank which three C-USA teams they wanted to see and three teams they did not want to see SMU play in football. Rice received the most votes followed by Houston, Southern Miss and UTEP. The least popular team was East Carolina, followed by UAB and Tulsa.

Dallas residents ranked the teams the same way for basketball. Houston was the most popular – receving nearly double the votes of any other team – followed by Memphis, UTEP and Rice. Again, the least popular team was East Carolina, followed by Marshall and UCF.

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