TCU

State of the Frogs: TCU’s Donati talks football expansion, announces fan vote on uniforms

Five things to know about new TCU AD Jeremiah Donati

Jeremiah Donati will replace current TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte when he leaves for Texas. Here are five things to know about the man already serving as Del Conte's right-hand man for Horned Frog Athletics.
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Jeremiah Donati will replace current TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte when he leaves for Texas. Here are five things to know about the man already serving as Del Conte's right-hand man for Horned Frog Athletics.

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati hosted a “State of the Frogs” question-and-answer session Thursday afternoon.

The “Live with #ADJD” aired live on TCU athletics’ Twitter and Instagram accounts, giving fans the opportunity to submit questions to host and voice of the Frogs Brian Estridge.

Donati touched on everything from the Amon G. Carter premium seating expansion to the new football uniforms to selling beer at football games. The highlights --

Expansion update

The east side expansion project is behind schedule 30-40 days, Donati said. Record rains in September and October have delayed several construction projects in the area, including TCU’s, but the school will try to make up significant time to have it completed by the football opener Aug. 31 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

“We’re going to have to hustle,” Donati said. “We all have the same goal [Aug. 31], but it’s a little bit out of our hands and we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. ... Ultimately, it’ll be a spectacular facility.”

The good news is the new video board will be installed by opening day. The university should have a better idea about the completion of the entire project in the coming weeks.

Uniform chatter

Donati broke news on the new football uniform front. He said the Frogs will have a fourth uniform, which will be unveiled next fall for “a special game.”

Donati didn’t give many hints about it, other than saying: “It’ll have some purple in it.”

Donati also announced plans to allow fans to vote on the uniform setup for the season-opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Donati hears from fans all the time about the uniforms, and he and coach Gary Patterson felt this would be an opportune way to get them involved in the decision-making process.

“Gary is excited about it,” Donati said. “We just figured with so many options, let’s give our fans a chance to vote on the uniform we’ll wear for Game 1.”

Beer me?

Donati has felt beer sales during baseball games at Lupton Stadium have been a positive, and the university is looking into possibly expanding beer sales at Amon G. Carter and Schollmaier Arena.

But there are several factors that go into a decision of that magnitude. For instance, the popular in/out policy that allows fans go to the parking lot to tailgate during halftime of football games would go away.

There is also more liability issues for the university to consider if it goes down that route.

“I’ve been non-committal because I want to make sure it’s the right move for TCU,” Donati said.

Biggest success

Reflecting back on his first year-plus as AD, Donati said getting the stadium expansion project approved and funded ranks as his top success.

“That was huge,” Donati said. “A huge effort went into that. That kept me on the road for a lot of the spring, fundraising. Externally, that’s going to be be your biggest accomplishment.”

Donati said there is always “the next” project, but didn’t reveal what that might be at this time.

Looking ahead

A fan asked Donati about the biggest challenge facing TCU in the next five to 10 years, and he mentioned the Big 12’s television contracts that expire in 2024. There is a lot of uncertainty with how those media rights will look in the future as more and more people “cut the cord” and consume entertainment through non-traditional avenues.

Nobody knows at this point how that may affect college athletics, although Donati feels the Big 12 is positioned well.

“The conference is as strong as it’s been in probably at least 10 years,” Donati said. “Ensuring that our conference is appropriately positioned is the biggest challenge.”

Dates to know

A couple dates that TCU fans should circle on their calendars --

April 13: TCU’s annual spring sale will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fans will have the opportunity to buy jerseys, gear and equipment from all sports.

May 16: TCU will host an “Evening with LaDainian Tomlinson.”

More information on each event will be made available in the coming weeks.

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Drew Davison is the TCU and Big 12 sports writer for the Star-Telegram. He’s covered everything in DFW from Rangers to Cowboys to motor sports.

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