Schovanec Talks New Big 12 Teams, Enrollment Numbers, & More
Wednesday on Sunrise LBK with Dave King and Tom Collins, The President of Texas Tech University Dr. Lawrence Schovanec joined Dave and Tom to talk about how they've handled the Big 12 situation, what the future of it is looking like, COVID at Tech, enrollment numbers, marketing with the Kansas City Chiefs, and more.
The conversation started when Dr. Schovanec was asked what is going to happen with the Big 12. He explained that that much of that has already been answered before, and said, "we would have preferred that we never ended up in the situation we were faced with, but given that Texas and OU were leaving, and the other conferences indicated no intent to expand, we went out and got the 4 best universities and the 4 best athletic programs that were available." He went on to explain that when the decision was made to expand, they acted quickly with their commissioner pushing forward, several schools submitting a bid to be in the league, and a vote was held to determine the schools on Friday. The final vote accepted Cincinnati, BYU, Houston, and the University of Central Florida. Schovanec said he thinks that a bigger, more national Big 12 will be good for college athletics, and will help Tech. He also thinks that coaches can now recruit with confidence that they will be in a very viable conference. When asked if he has a preference for how many teams they settle on in the end, he said he can see them having 16 teams some day.
The President was also asked about COVID at Tech and what the numbers are looking like. Schovanec said that they always maintain a dashboard online that has COVID-19 information and numbers, updated daily. As of Tuesday, there were 22 new cases among students, 3 among employees, and 39 recoveries for a total of 285 COVID-19 cases. Their peak so far this year was in the first week with 389 cases, although he does remind us that last fall they were having around 1,100-1,200 at times. Now, classrooms are open, and they are engaged with the full activities you might expect. They did, however, issue a memo about 10 days ago about providing flexibility about going to online courses if there are problematic classes, as they want to be sensitive to those who have health concerns.
Yet another topic was about Tech's enrollment numbers. Schovanec explained that they are up about 40,750 kids, for a 1% increase. There was a record increase in freshmen, at 2.5%, however, retention of last years freshman was down by 920 students, resulting in a 2% decrease. He explained that they contacted all of them to discover the reason for this decrease, and found out that 70% of them had taken classes online, and so he suspects that not having face-to-face classes had a very detrimental affect on those students.
Finally, Schovanec talked about the marketing plan that Tech has had with the Kansas City Chiefs. The President said that Matt Dewey pursued this with the Chiefs and was able to sign last summer. He went on to explain that in the first 12 hours of their first game, there were about 1,300 new visits on the TTU admissions website, and so he thinks it has really had a positive affect.
Listen to the full interview with Tech President Dr. Lawrence Schovanec in the audio above.
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