The House Chianti Dan Built

I get that Block doesn't care about wins or losses. His job description and evaluation clearly does not include quality of student life, with a meaningful athletic and other extracurricular program.

But dollars and cents presumably come into the equation at some point. Wasting money in any area, athletic department, medical center, or elsewhere, should be a black mark.

It is not hard to see waste- all you need is to look at the new Pauley. The basketball team was sent onto a road show last year to Ontario, Anaheim and a vacant arena next to our rival, so that our campus showcase could be renovated and so that we could enter a new golden era in the most successful college basketball program of all time.

The closest analogy I can think of is UC Berkeley, and the renovation/expansion of Harmon Gym into Haas Pavilion. Admittedly, they had a more competent athletic director, who put their team in an NBA arena in Oakland, rather than shuttling the team to Stanford for their "home" games. So they were one step ahead already.

Cal opened Haas in December 1999. The renovation/expansion cost $57.5 million, and resulted in a capacity of 11,877. They ushered in a new era of basketball with a slate of non-conference games which included no major conference opponents. The list included Pacific (10,528), Hofstra (10,625), San Jose St (10,026), Irvine (10,319), Boston University (10,692), and Penn (10,520). These games were played in November and December, including midweek games and games during school breaks.

The average attendance was 10,452. With a capacity of 11,877, that means 1,425 empty seats. Dividing by the renovation cost, Cal spent $5,500 for every occupied seat. Cal was coming off a 22-11 season, which included a trip to the NIT (which they won- woop dee doo). But by not setting up a pathetic road tour during the renovation, and putting up a watchable product, Cal was able to attract spectators, despite a mediocre opponent listing.

And how has Chiant Dan done in comparison? The new Pauley cost $136 million, and has a capacity of 13,800 (per the athletic department website).

The non-conference games to date have the following attendance- Indiana State (13.513), Irvine (7.254), James Madison (7.554), Cal Poly (8.317), and Northridge (5.751). The average attendance has been 8,484. With a capacity of 13,800, that means 5,316 empty seats each game. Dividing by the renovation cost, Chianti Dan has spent $16,030 for every occupied seat- roughly 3 times as much as Cal spent. There is no way inflation explains the difference- but a team which loses any chance at buzz thanks to a pathetic road renovation show and a performance which even the NIT can't stomach does explain the difference.

If there were 5,316 empty hospital beds, Block would be all over this. What is the difference? We have spent money with no return. We need to remove the cancer of Chianti Den and Ben immediately, and stem the outflow of lost opportunity dollars in the new Pauley.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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