A few highlights from a sit-down with Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork earlier today.
It was announced on Sept. 1 that the capital campaign – with a goal of $150 million – has reached $75 million.
The goal to open the basketball arena is fall 2015 with the break-ground date of late 2013 or early 2014.
Bowling in the north end zone is something that will happen “at some point in time.” Timing for the north end zone is less clear and is dependent on upon the arena – Location of the arena has been revisited and has not been finalized – and other factors.
Originally the north end zone was targeted for a 2014 ground-breaking. “That could still happen,” Bjork said. “We’re two years from that. I think we’re still within that window.”
Football games with Memphis have been finalized, contracts signed. The 2014-15 season is the target date to begin the basketball series. Contracts have not been signed, but Bjork says the games will happen. Memphis has to have football, Ole Miss has to have basketball to make this thing work.
Under former AD Pete Boone, John Hartwell was heavily involved in football schedule. Bjork will assume the major responsibility for football scheduling moving forward.
As far as a Texas-type opponent in the future, that remains to be seen. Ole Miss, in fact, will try to get out of its current contracts with Georgia Tech.
Bjork: “I think we’ll be able to get out of that aggreement. One, it’s a tough matchup for the style of play they play under Paul Johnson, and we’d like to be a little more strategic on some of those matchups. So, we’re looking at getting out of that series. Once we get Georgia Tech finalized, and once we understand the football playoff then we’ll look and see, where do we stand, and what makes sense for the program.
“We’re locked in at eight games in the SEC. What will those four (non-conference) games look like from a strenght of schedule standpoint, and how does that play into the selection criteria. I’d like to get a good feel for that before we launch into any new agreements.
“We’ve got Georgia Tech on the books, and we’ve talked to them. They’re playing nine games in the ACC. Then they play Georgia, and now Notre Dame comes into play. They’re going to rotate them through the ACC.”