Thursday, July 23, 2009

Alternative sites for Indy-Butler football game

With 24,000-seat Memorial Stadium out of the picture, this year's Independence-Butler football game, scheduled for Nov. 6, is currently going to be played at Independence.

Given the attendance in recent years for this rivalry has been between 10,000 and 18,000, playing it at 4,000-seat Independence would not be the best option.

So where could the teams play?

Some fans have suggested Bank of America Stadium. That would be a wonderful venue. You could rope off the upper decks and the Panthers are out of town that week, playing at New Orleans. But rental costs would be a huge issue in a tough economy. So barring a sweetheart deal from the offices of Jerry Richardson, I wouldn't see that happening.

What does that leave? J.C. Smith seats about as many as Independence does. Ardrey Kell has a fabulous turf field and great lighting, but athletics director Cheryl Feeney told me this morning it seats only about 4,000. The biggest high school stadium in town is Providence, which could seat about 6,500 and probably squeeze in another 1,000 with portable bleachers or standing spectators on the fence.

Providence is scheduled to host Ardrey Kell on Nov. 6, however.

I don't think the Panthers officials would have much problem with a Indy-Butler Saturday game, but the N.C. High School Athletic Association might, since it tries to get its playoff seedings done on Saturday morning after teams play their final regular season games, which will be Nov. 6 this year.

So that leaves a few options: play at Independence, play at Providence on Thursday or start working on special permission from the NCHSAA for a Saturday game.

I think playing at Providence, on whatever day, is the best option. And as CMS is constructing new schools, maybe it's time to think about building a regional stadium that can hold, say, 10,000 fans.

It would allow them to hold graduation ceremonies and other big events and could host a big high school game each week. A local athletics director has long advocated putting up two or three regional stadiums across the city, following the map drawn by Rock Hill's District III Stadium. It's a good idea, don't you think?

-- Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com
twitter.com/langstonwertzjr
facebook.com/langstonwertzjr
charlotteobserver.com/205

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not sure the reason what playing @ BofA Stadium and Saturday morning have in common, but I know that building a special stadium for Indy, and yes Butler, is not in ANY budget!! I say to push for BofA to make it happen on Nov. 6, if it rains out, then play @ Indy, as planned.

Anonymous said...

What does Davidson or Wingate Stadiums hold?

Anonymous said...

Have always thought that two stadiums placed on opposite sides of the county would be the best plan if Memorial was ever razed. One stadium would seat approximately 7,500 with room for expansion with temp bleachers. The other 10,000 also with room for temps.

Is there no way the damaged area can be roped off? By November safety inspections and progress should give a clearance for the areas around the damage.

If both of these teams are 10-0 going into the last game they will need at least 12,000 seats. No end zone bowl seating at Memorial will be adequate.

I think Jerry Richardson would make exceptions for this contest. This is a unique situation so the NCHSAA should look at the big picture. If both teams are undefeated the two teams will be interchangeable in the playoff seedings. Do the complete bracket with a number one and two conference seed tba. The first round opposing coaches can come watch the game and get tapes from the team they will play after the game. Simple.

Anonymous said...

I want to live in the fantasy world you live in! CMS is laying off teachers yet you advocate CMS build a 10,000 seat FOOTBALL stadium?! Something that ridiculous makes me now question anything you write.

Anonymous said...

Buy some FSLs from charlotte49erfootball.com and you'll help build a facility that would be perfect for these big CMS games without the hassle of dealing with the Big Cat.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:52 you misunderstand the whole emphasis on what I wrote although it appears you are referring to the author of the article. My statement was based on the article noting Rock Hill's District setup. The same concept is utilized in Texas. Instead of each school having a stadium start looking at one stadium shared by a few schools or build extremely basic stadiums at the schools with few amenities going forward. This concept is to save money. The cost to keep up grass (or install turf) and other components of a stadium are expensive and man hour consuming. Cutting this down to a few facilities that are better equipped with more seating could be logical. It would require research.

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand what Langston says about the pairings and Saturday morning. If the game is played on Friday night @ BofA, how is that different than say, at Providence, Indy or else?? I still cannot see why roping off the endzone if the rest of the facility is stable IS NOT an option. Sounds like a good works stimuls project for Mr. Obama to take credit with shovel ready jobs.

Observer Sports said...

If the game is played on Friday night anywhere (Providence, BofA, etc) it wouldn't matter to the NCHSAA. A Saturday game might be more problematic. I think perhaps it could be worked around, but the schools need to start talking to the association now.

As for me advocating CMS spend more money to build stadiums while laying off teachers, that's not what I'm saying. They are building new schools out of need and will continue to. I'd rather see new schools get nice practice fields but share a stadium, as do schools in towns like Rock HIll. Charlotte needs larger facilities for big moment games. Short of that, build on site stadiums that seat up to 7,000.

Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com
twitter.com/langstonwertzjr
facebook.com/langstonwertzjr
charlotteobserver.com/205

Anonymous said...

But we already have a 24,000 seat stadium in a central location. So its out of commission for one football season. Is that truly sufficient rationale to build another? By the time the bureaucrats even start talking about this proposal (assuming it would make it that far), Memorial Stadium would be back up and running.

Observer Sports said...

Yes we do have Memorial but one of the reasons in recent years CMS teams have backed away from playing more games there is cost. They don't get concessions, lifeblood for a public school, and often they say they don't make as much, even with a bigger crowd, than they would at home, due to increased costs structures.

I think this is a story we probably should do in depth one day. This issue comes up every day. I'm a big fan of Memorial and remember the old days when it was full. When you get 15-20K in there, there's no place like it in the Carolinas for prep or small college ball.

I'd always hoped it would get a mini-makeover and maybe host state championship football. it's the perfect place and size for that, but needs new bathrooms, bleacher updates, press boxes, etc.

Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com
twitter.com/langstonwertzjr
facebook.com/langstonwertzjr
charlotteobserver.com/205

Anonymous said...

Building a regional stadiums at this point make no sense whatsoever. There is no money. Upgrade existing faculties. Again, money is the issue. Play the game at Indy. If they sell out so be it. Its only for this year.

Anonymous said...

Langston,

You point to cost, and I don't disagree with you that schools don't want to play there for that reason; however, is the answer adjusting the fee structure or building an entire new stadium? The cost you are referring to that deters schools is in the low thousands, maybe reaching into the tens of thousands, but probably not (on a per game basis.) The cost of building another similar stadium or two, including the land, construction, maintenance, etc. probably stretches into the tens of millions.

IF such a proposal were on the table, wouldn't it make infinitely more sense for the county to adjust the fee structure for the county's schools (losing a few thousand dollars in the process), rather than allocate tens of millions to build a redundant facility?

IF there are others interested in this proposal, and IF you do intend to do a story on that, I would think that you might consider presenting it in those terms. Doesn't that make more sense?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone even thought of making Independence's field get the upgrade since they consistently excel in this sport? This may put their field out of commission for one season but in the long run seems like the smartest way to go. Memorial concessions are a crime in themselves. If the school counts on concession revenue, that should not be something taken away so quickly

Anonymous said...

Another item to consider is putting so much emphasis on one or two school's teams. Making the noise that they could play at Bofa makes the statement to all other schools that they are not as important. Keep it what it is, high school football. Yes, we want all to excel, but come on aren't you rushing it?! If the host school cannot accomodate the crowd, spend the money to have large screens up for outside the gate attendees.

Observer Sports said...

CMS is building new schools. They have to in order to handle population growth. Those new schools would get football stadiums. Instead of creating a normal 4,500 seat stadium, I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to make these 7,000 or 8,000 stadiums and allow them to be used as regional supersites. These could be on campus or near campus.

In terms of cost structures with Memorial, 1K to a high school is an awful lot of money and since football supports the other remaining sports, along with basketball, every penny counts.

If you get Memorial and pay the fees and get bad weather and a poor crowd -- or poorer than expected -- it hurts.

And you also have to realize, individual schools are dealing with Memorial. CMS would be building these new stadiums. Two different deals.

Langston Wertz Jr.
lwertz@charlotteobserver.com
twitter.com/langstonwertzjr
facebook.com/langstonwertzjr
charlotteobserver.com/205

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:47-

You must have just moved to down. You aren't aware that CMS policy is that no school may have more than any other and that therefore all must be crappy together. At least the commies distributed benefits "to each according to his worth, to each according to his need" and CMS can't even do that.

Anonymous said...

"IF such a proposal were on the table, wouldn't it make infinitely more sense for the county to adjust the fee structure for the county's schools (losing a few thousand dollars in the process), rather than allocate tens of millions to build a redundant facility?"

Again...failed to address this point...

Anonymous said...

Really don't see the Panthers buying in for this. What if it's a downpour and the field gets chewed up. Would never allow that to happen.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we all know and understand that times are tough. But like Langston said, it is time for CMS to start thinking about building area stadiums instead of the current status quo of individual school stadia.

Charlotte and the surrounding area has grown so much over the last decade, but I was very surprised to read that Memorial Stadium is the largest in the area that's not attached to a university or professional club. And then to read where the school's do not reap the benefit of using such a venue is absurd...absolutely backwards.

Is it nice to play at your own school and in front of 4000+ fans? Sure, you betcha. But as I was fortunate enough to play high school football in front of 20,000 plus on Fri and Sat nights back home in Louisiana...ot including the times we played in the Dome!

Let's give our kids the same chance and let's build another regional stadium or two. Shoot, everyone is complaining that the stimulus money hasn't been spent yet and I think our youth are very deserving.

Many kids, like myself, will never go further than high shcool ball. Let's give them the chance to play in front of everyone from the community. Man, those were awesome nights!

Anonymous said...

"IF such a proposal were on the table, wouldn't it make infinitely more sense for the county to adjust the fee structure for the county's schools (losing a few thousand dollars in the process), rather than allocate tens of millions to build a redundant facility?"

Again...failed to address this point...

What do you do for soccer then? Track? (at some time in the future) Lacrosse? Other sports that make use of those on-campus stadiums? All you've accomplished is created a scheduling nightmare. All of the schools that are a part of this have to play all of their field sports at this one venue? Yeah...I'm sure that will work.

Is the assumption that the new schools that are part of this plan will always be the ones that need to use the larger capacity facilities? Garinger certainly does not need an 8-10,000 person capacity to play their games in front of. Neither do numerous other schools new and old. If Independence is playing MP in a major game, and new school 1 and 2 (part of the rotating stadium plan are playing) do you knock new school 1 and 2 out of the new stadium and have them play their game at MP? That pretty much insures that attendance at both will be severely diminished and is otherwise simply absurd.

Hercules said...

Who is WC football coach...when is the sports dept going to address that?

Anonymous said...

Wow you must have been asleep. I hope your son does not play at WC. Jeff Simpson former Vance Head Coach is the new Coach at WC. He has been for a few months now...

Anonymous said...

Here is the answer...Put it on TV...just like you do the championship games...Just a thought

Anonymous said...

How many seats does Charlotte's soccer stadium hold? There's an opportunity for the 49ers right there.

Anonymous said...

Kickoff in either Richmond or Wake county. They both seem to get all the other semi meaningful games and most of the game revenues. Better yet Wingate has a stadium and it's right on Independence Blvd. Extension. Those that care about the game can stop, the rest can head to the beach.

Anonymous said...

Why is this being overcomplicated? Indy has one of the worst fields in the county. Upgrade their facilities as money allows and add some additional seating.
HS sports are meant to be a school event. Let the schools benefit from their success and put a little money back into the ones that do well to support their facilities.

Ghoul said...

The real answer is to take money from building the new Mint Hill HS and upgrade WC's field, just to piss everyone off.

Anonymous said...

ive seen providence's stadium and it could hold atleast 8000, and that new scoreboard they have there would be perfect for this game

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