TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of LSU Athletics FROM: Skip Bertman, Athletics Director The events of April 16 at Virginia Tech were truly tragic and hit close to home for anyone who works on a college campus. Students, faculty and staff at other universities are colleagues and friends. To see so many young people struck down in their youth is heartbreaking beyond words. This fall, LSU will host Virginia Tech in the Hokiesâ€™ first road game of the football season. It will be important for LSU to make an appropriate recognition of the tragedy that took place at Virginia Tech when our visitors from Blacksburg come to our campus on September 8. LSU will be in communication with Virginia Tech officials at the appropriate time to address the manner and timing of this recognition. In the meantime, I hope you will visit our website at LSUsports.net and click on the link to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund to see how you can help in their time of need. In this time of tragedy, â€œWeâ€™re All Hokies!â€ FACILITY UPDATE Six years ago when I was named athletic director, we launched an ambitious program to improve athletic facilities at LSU. Since that time, LSU and TAF have teamed up to renovate the Old Gym Armory into the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes, renovate the west side of Tiger Stadium, renovate the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, build a new Football Operations Center and construct a new home for Mike the Tiger. We have also made other improvements to Tiger Stadium, such as the renovation of the field, the replacement of east and west sideline seats, improvements to most restrooms and landscaping of the west stadium parking lot. The next steps are to build new baseball and softball stadiums and a new merchandise store, to add practice facilities for our menâ€™s and womenâ€™s basketball teams to the Maravich Center, and to resurface the indoor and outdoor tracks. We must also address our tennis and swimming facilities, and practice gyms for gymnastics and volleyball in the future. As you may have read recently, the bids for construction of the baseball and softball stadiums came in well over budget, nearly $10 million over projected costs for baseball and over $6 million high for softball. After working with our architects and state facility planners, we have revised the projected costs and adjusted our allocated funds to move forward with those projects. We accomplished this by re-allocating funds already designated for use by the athletic department to build a basketball practice facility and merchandise store, and to resurface the tracks. Funds remain in place to continue with the design of the basketball, track and merchandise store projects. We will revise our overall facility funding plan and then will request approval to move forward with these projects to keep them on schedule. The reality of our post-Hurricane Katrina world is that construction costs are much higher than they were only two years ago, and the original financial projections, developed in cooperation with our architects and their consultants, were very much affected. It is impossible to know if or when construction costs will return to normal, and to postpone our athletic facility plans would only put LSU Athletics behind in our mission to compete among the elite programs in America in all 20 varsity sports. So we decided to continue forward with these projects, to continue to give our student-athletes and coaches the tools necessary to compete and win championships. We should break ground on the new baseball stadium in early summer and plan to have it ready for the Tigers to use for practice in the fall of 2008. The softball project will be re-bid, with the same projected completion date of the fall of 2008. It would be premature to predict the completion date of the basketball practice facilities, merchandise store and track resurfacing until we can gather more information on the funding of those projects. I hope to update you later this year on the progress of those facilities. LSU VS. ARKANSAS FOOTBALL CBS has chosen the LSU vs. Arkansas football game once again to be played on the Friday after Thanksgiving at 1:30 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. This has become the traditional date for this Battle for the Boot. CBS is in the seventh year of an eight-year contract with the SEC to televise games, and CBS by contract has first right of refusal to televise this game. LSU TIGER TOUR The annual LSU Tiger Tour will begin in May, and I hope you will take the opportunity to share an evening with other Tiger fans when the tour comes to your area. The tour will include speaking appearances by LSU head football coach Les Miles and at various locations with LSU menâ€™s basketball coach John Brady, Tiger baseball coach Paul Mainieri and new womenâ€™s basketball coach Van Chancellor. I will also be on hand at several tour stops. Here is the schedule for this yearâ€™s LSU Tiger Tour 2007: May 9 at Alexandria; May 10 at Lafayette; May 14 at Shreveport/Bossier City; May 15 at Monroe; May 21 at Birmingham (Ala.); May 23 at Pensacola (Fla.); June 5 at Baton Rouge; June 7 at Covington/Mandeville; June 12 at Jackson (Miss.); June 14 at Morgan City; July 18 at Houston; July 19 at Lake Charles; July 22 at New Orleans. Event times and ticket prices vary for each tour stop. All times and prices are available at the LSU Tiger Tour website at LSU TigerTour 2007, the Tiger Athletic Foundation website at LSU Tiger Athletic Foundation , and at the official website of LSU Athletics, LSUsports.netâ€”The Official Web Site of LSU Tigers Athletics. We welcome your comments, so write to us at LSUvision@etigers.net. Although we cannot promise a response to every e-mail we receive, please be assured that every letter will be read. Thank you for your continued support of Tiger Athletics.