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scUM putting $200 million in the Toilet

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by BB73, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    Both schools up north are planning stadium renovations. scUM's plans are preliminary. A chart of Big-10 stadiums is at the bottom of this pasted article.

    ANN ARBOR -- Bill Martin knows he is about to alter an icon.

    Renovating the University of Michigan Stadium, college football's biggest house, could cost as much as $200 million, and fans are conscious of every detail, down to where the shadows fall late on an autumn afternoon and, especially, its status as the nation's biggest college stadium.

    "We have to respect the traditions of Michigan Stadium," said Martin, who began his tenure as Michigan's athletic director in 2000 by removing the controversial halo, a maize-and-blue aluminum band that encircled the top of the stadium and drew howls of protest from fans.

    To pay for more rest rooms, concession stands, a press box and other changes to the stadium, Martin hopes to add as many as 79 luxury suites, where big donors will pay tens of thousands of dollars to enjoy indoor luxury.

    U-M is joining Michigan State University and several other colleges across the country by adding facilities for the well-to-do that some fear will change forever the tone of game day. Michigan State will open 24 suites this year on the west side of Spartan Stadium as part of a $61 million renovation. Suite-holders will pay between $35,000 and $80,000 each year.

    Not everyone in Ann Arbor is thrilled at the prospect of stadium renovations. Fans remember the battle of the halo and, more recently, an abortive effort by the school to sell the naming rights to the Michigan-Ohio State game to SBC.

    "There is some distrust, and I think it's legitimate," said Phil Callihan, a 1993 graduate who edits a fan Web site he said draws more than 4,000 hits per day.

    Callihan said he worries U-M's stadium will become too much like a professional sports facility. He holds season tickets for Detroit Tigers games at Comerica Park and likes the amenities there, but his expectation of Michigan Stadium is different.

    "We already have seat licenses; now we're going to have suites," he said. "We're starting to look and smell and quack like a pro (organization)."

    If that's the case, Michigan has plenty of company -- seven other Big Ten schools have done or are doing similar things.

    Big donors love suites, in part because of an Internal Revenue Service ruling that makes lease payments 80 percent tax deductible as a donation to the university, said Sheldon Steinbach, a lawyer for the American Council on Education.

    While purists fret the growing influence of money in college athletics, many fans say suites are inevitable.

    "Short of garish advertising on the playing surface, anything that raises money is OK with me," said Dean Glossop of Howell, a graduate who has been attending Michigan games for more than 20 years.

    When the sun begins to set at Michigan Stadium, the cool shadow of the press box slowly slips over fans on the west side of the field, and renovations may change the shape and size of that shadow.

    "That's one of my concerns," said Karen Berrie of Plymouth, a graduate who has held season tickets for more than 30 years. "It's definitely going to be a different sense."

    Those are the kinds of sensitivities Martin must balance. The school is still searching for an architect, but one plan being discussed would add as many as 79 luxury suites, several thousand outdoor club seats -- they have backs and armrests, compared to the benches in most of the stadium -- and a new press box.

    Martin is quick to note that no plans have been formalized. Construction would not likely begin until after the 2006 football season.

    Michigan Stadium opened in 1927 with an initial seating capacity of 72,000.

    Several additions have increased its capacity to 107,501, a number that puts it a mere 219 seats more than Beaver Stadium at Penn State.

    "That's a source of incredible pride among our fans," said Martin, who has been deluged with fan concerns since plans became public last month. "They said, 'Don't you dare eliminate that standing.' I can't image it getting smaller."

    But some fans are already skeptical and worry that the stadium may have to surrender its title as the Big House.

    Martin insists the school will move slowly and deliberately.

    "Michigan Stadium is a landmark, it's an icon," Martin said. "If you build the enclosed seating, you can pay for the improvements. We don't want to put this cost on the backs of all of our season-ticket holders."

    Spartan Stadium

    At Michigan State, 19 of the 24 new suites that will open this year have been sold as of late last month, said John Lewandowski, director of sports information. Officials expect the rest to sell quickly, when the construction is completed.

    Suite-holders will pay between $35,000 and $80,000 each year to walk into a glass atrium, ride private elevators, sit in cushioned chairs and raise and lower a front window to enjoy or defy football weather.

    "It's got heating in it, it's got air conditioning in it, it's got TV in it," said Bob Gerbel, an accountant from St. Joseph who will share a 12-seat suite with three business partners. "The food will be catered."

    Gerbel said he expects to do some corporate entertaining in the suite but sees most of the seats being used by friends and family, including his grandchildren.

    "We support the program," Gerbel said. "We bought season tickets and we bought stadium club seats, so now we're taking the next step."

    But some Spartans said they were disappointed the project didn't upgrade other parts of the stadium. The project is adding new bathrooms to the upper deck but not the lower.

    "The rest rooms are not big enough; it's like cattle going in there," said Fred Jennings, 75, of Grand Rapids who has been attending Spartan games since his days as a student in the late 1940s. "They need more bathroom facilities for the average citizens."

    Despite the rest room lines, Jennings said he doesn't resent the fans in the suites. "I hope they get a lot of money out of them," he said.

    Lewandowski said that the money from the suites and seat license fees help pay for some of the 25 sports at MSU that don't make money.

    But others worry that the elaborate stadiums and their costs could come back to haunt college athletics.

    "To try to pay all the bills with two revenue sports, you just have to milk it for all you can," said Wake Forest University President Thomas K. Hearn, who chairs the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, a group that advocates reform in college sports.

    "I think if we are not careful, we're going to have created a sports environment in which only a handful of the richest schools can afford to play."

    Building boom

    Besides MSU and U-M, six other Big Ten schools have either added or are adding suites to their stadiums.

    The timing of the building boom is no coincidence, said Sheldon Steinbach, a lawyer for the American Council on Education, a coordinating body for 1,800 colleges and universities.

    After the 1986 tax reform, the IRS allowed football fans to write off 80 percent of the seat license fees as a charitable donation to the university, Steinbach said. In the 1990s, the focus turned to leases on luxury suites.

    "After some review, the IRS ruled that the same rules would be applicable to suites," Steinbach said. "Once they ruled that 80 percent of your gift is tax-deductible, it became commonplace for every major institution. It seems to be the porthole toward further commercial advertising."

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  2. jwinslow

    jwinslow A MAN OF BETRAYED JUSTICE Staff Member Tourney Pick'em Champ

    The stench embedded in the seats must have become unbearable :wink:
  3. BB73

    BB73 Loves Buckeye History Staff Member Bookie '16 & '17 Upset Contest Winner

    Maybe it's not too late to buy stock in whoever makes Ty-D-Bol. They'll need a ton of it!

    MililaniBuckeye likes this.
  4. LoKyBuckeye

    LoKyBuckeye I give up. This board is too hard to understand.

    They'll be adding 5,000 seats and the collective amount of teeth will only go up by a few dozen. :)
  5. jwinslow

    jwinslow A MAN OF BETRAYED JUSTICE Staff Member Tourney Pick'em Champ

    Dangit, I thought the capacity was going down (I heard that on a rumor on another board). *Sigh*

    Today is just a bad day for realizations about scUM. I also found out that we will probably all have to suffer thru seeing Braylon Edwards on the cover of NCAA 2006. It would be hard to come up with a bigger player last year who is graduating, unless you're gonna go with the loser White or the Utah-who QB Smith. A scUM homer posted that on another board, and while I hate it there's a good chance it will be him. :(
  6. BuckeyeTillIDie

    BuckeyeTillIDie The North Remembers

    Seriously, how can they add 5k more to that shithole?

    That place is a design nightmare.
  7. spraguezilla

    spraguezilla Rookie

    200 million and M*ch*g*n still SUCKS!!! I don't care how much money they pour into that toilet bowl it's the ugliest damn stadium in college football. I'll take Boise State's blue turf over that hole in the ground.

    I vote for Utah's Alex Smith, and if Braylon does happen to ruin the cover of NCAA 2006, any chance BuckeyeFROMscum you can make me a new cover. You know your the man for that job.
  8. jwinslow

    jwinslow A MAN OF BETRAYED JUSTICE Staff Member Tourney Pick'em Champ

    Haha, yeah I could probably do that. And I'd be able to put Teddy Ginn on there, or if we wanted to stay legal with the amateur thing maybe Nuge.
  9. BIATCHabutuka

    BIATCHabutuka out of chaos comes playoffs

    i just hope you can still pee on the walls.

    nothing like pissing all over their walls in the bathroom.
  10. BuckeyeNation27

    BuckeyeNation27 Goal Goal USA! Staff Member

    i got ginn on the cover of my 2005 box :biggrin:
  11. jlb1705

    jlb1705 hipster doofus Bookie

    My question is, when they put that $200 million in the stadium, will it swirl clockwise our counterclockwise?
  12. CleveBucks

    CleveBucks Serenity now

    That place is a total shithole. If they don't remove 5 seats per row and 5 rows per section, they're wasting their money. What a dump. Entrance and exit are a nightmare as well. Who the hell makes one 6-foot wide opening for 90 rows of seats?
  13. LRABuck

    LRABuck Proud to be a Buckeye

    Sounds like a mighty clog waiting to happen. I hope they have a $200 million dollar PLUNGER handy.

    After they stuff all that money down the drain, I hope they remember to flush.
  14. Buckeye513

    Buckeye513 Stable Genius

    Alex Smith from Utah, Cedric Benson from Texas.
  15. 415Bradley

    415Bradley west coast speed

    It will clog

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