LEAGUE POLICY: THE STADIUM QUESTION
While the statistics may not agree that play is worse in a college basketball game played in a football stadium, we cant help but disagree. After the 18 percent shooting by the Butler Bulldogs on Monday, playing in Houston’s Reliant Stadium, one must consider the outcome as based on location, not just talent. While big stadiums means more money for the NCAA, it does not necessarily translate to good basketball. In fact it may be the biggest factor in poor play in the Final Four. Coach Calhoun of UConn has said that a gym is a gym, any place with a hardwood and two baskets is the same. This may be true in many sports, but college basketball is a different animal. The student athletes, young and talented feed off the crowd like a swarm of cicadas on a cornfield. Butler, for instance plays at Finkel Fieldhouse, an arena built in 1928 that seats 10,000. This is obviously an intimate atmosphere where the crowd is as much a part of the game as some of the bench players. To take this personal connection to the crowd away in the final most important games is not fair to the spirit of the sport.
Crowd noise is not the only factor in the stadium game, the position of the roof and walls to the hoop is another point of concern. While Calhoun may say its all the same (I don’t think he really believes that), the fact is a basketball arena is designed specifically to focus the game on the hoops, while a football stadium is a huge
atmosphere where the game can’t help but get lost. We understand that the Final Four that without a large stadium, only insiders and big donors could get tickets, but at what point to we determine the outcome of the game on its location? College sports already has some serious soul searching to do considering the amount of money generated and the disparity between player and coach. In the case of the Final Four, money is trumping the quality of the game, which is a detrimental to the entire system.
by Lennon Bergland