"I think a well-maintained stadium located on the main campus, now with decades of tradition behind it, would be a great benefit to the university, providing a familiar venue for athletics, graduations, freshman convocations, band days, and other large events,"
Colorado State, a school with a proud but modest athletic and academic tradition, zero national championships, zero Heismans, and two Olympic medalists is doing something that the feeble leaders at our great University with it's incomparable athletic and academic legacy wouldn't dare to consider. But daring is sometimes what it takes for the unassuming to reach great heights. The new stadium concept was first championed by AD Jack Graham shortly after he was hired less than one year ago, and the President sees the wisdom in such a venture.
CSU, located in Fort Collins Co (pop ~150K) currently plays its home games in Hughes Stadium, which is a mere 2 miles from campus. But that's not close enough for the President. Hughes holds 32,000 and never sells out, but that's not big enough for the President. In Fort Collins, CSU is the only game in town (if you discount the world's best collection of microbreweries), so it's not like CSU is competing with any other college teams or pro teams. But already having the monopoly isn't good enough for the President.
President Frank envisions the stadium as a way for alumni to reconnect with campus, as well as expose CSU to a new audience.
Frank said he liked the idea of "alumni returning to reconnect with the place they lived and learned, fans and their families coming to the campus around the event of a football game, and students enjoying an event - whether a concert or a commencement - in the space they call home for a wonderful, if short, period of their lives."
One possibility that has always appealed to Frank are those game-day Saturdays, and perhaps a winning team to accompany them, being a conduit to appeal to those not familiar with the university.
CSU is pursuing this in a fiscally responsible manner. All levels have advanced the stadium proposal with the caveat that it be funded without using existing school funds, and they say they can do it. I don't have data, but I am just going out on a limb and saying that the donating power of U.C.L.A. alumni exceeds that of Colorado State.
The decision brings at least a temporary close to a nine-month process that began with the formation of a 17-member Stadium Advisory Committee. In August, the committee said stadium revenue commitments, including areas such as ticket sales, naming rights and luxury seating, could total $13 million to $26 million in the first year the structure was open.
Think of what advertising and naming rights for a football stadium for U.C.L.A. could bring. Think of the economic benefit to Westwood. Think of having a capacity crowd of ~60K on TV instead of gaping sections of empty seats in Pasadena. Think of the unity on-campus games would bring to at least a partly distracted and apathetic student body. Think of the benefit to the athletic department and to the University as a whole of having thousands of alums on campus for 7 or 8 weekends in the fall. Think of graduation and concerts and other activities there. Think this.
Insert here the obligatory close-minded "too much traffic" "the neighbors won't allow it" "Parking!" "it's too expensive" arguments. Yes, those are legitimate obstacles. But they are not dead-ends. I mean, if we can build an unneeded hotel right in the center of campus, then why not something with significantly more tangible and intangible value to our University? President Frank wasn't afraid to face the challenges.
"I understand that parking and traffic will be challenges that we'll need to work closely with the city to address," Frank said in his statement. "But I return to the fact that larger universities with larger stadiums in smaller communities have solved such challenges, and I see no reason to think that we can't solve them as well."
I'm not saying this is something that U.C.L.A. has to do. I am saying it is something that U.C.L.A. has to consider. I also believe that serious consideration will show the huge benefit to our school.
I am saddened, but not surprised, that this is something that Guerrero has never championed and that Block has never advanced. Which takes us back to the root of our problems.
It's time for new leadership and new visions in Westwood. Tiny Fort Collins already has them.