Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wednesday's Hearsay and Conjecture

Please Let This Issue Die

Please? There is a theory that if you say something enough times to enough people somehow it begins to become a "fact". That is certainly the case with the ongoing debate over adding luxury boxes to Michigan Stadium. Michael Rosenberg of the Free Press became the latest espouse the anti-luxury box party line.

In his latest column Rosenberg states the new luxury box structures will total 450,000 square feet and be the equivalent of a six story and eight story builing on each side of the stadium. Yes, jackass, if they're built vertically. He also compares the stadium upgrades from around the Big Ten:

Some context: Michigan State spent $49.2 million on its expansion. Wisconsin spent $109.5 million. Illinois plans to spend $116 million on its renovation. (The renovations at Illinois and Wisconsin, like the Michigan proposal, include upgrades throughout the stadium.) Ohio State, which has the most rabid fan base in the conference, spent $187 million. Minnesota plans to spend $248 million. But for that, the Golden Gophers would get a whole new stadium.
The difference he mentions, only in passing, is the shear size of the renovations. Yes, adding luxury boxes to Michigan stadium will cost more. However, he implies that the rest of the Big Ten is getting more for its money. Rosenberg apparently forgot to look at the stadiums in question. Michigan seats, at a minimum, 35,000 more people on game day than Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State, and Minnesota (even with their new stadium).

Its not like we're adding a parking garage onto an outhouse, its Michigan Stadium we're talking about. Its (bleeping) huge. Placing boxes that run the length of the east and west sides of the Big House will cost money simply because of the distances involved. You don't need an engineering degree to put this together.

One of his more annoying assertions is that everyone else seems to have done it right and for a better price. As support for this assertion he states that Ohio State spent $187 on their renovations. His sole rationale for giving those expenditures the "okay" is because the Ohio State fan base is the most "rabid". Are you kidding me? By that rationale if we had more campers in our parking lots, rooted for the Cavs, and said "Fuck Ohio" on a regular basis spending close to $200 million would be acceptable. I don't get the logic.

The cost of the upgrades/luxury boxes will be in the area of $200 million dollars. However, that cost includes bathrooms, concessions, and general comfort improvements throughout the stadium which would have cost a significant amount of money by themselves. Reading the column you'll get a different impression. Its not all going to luxury boxes Michael. Relax.

Yes, the feel of the stadium will change. Yes, it will look different. Yes, building them will be expensive. These are not reasons that should prevent these changes from happening. The good folks in Green Bay had a similar experience to this one when the Lambeau renovations were proposed. Every "traditionalist" jackass and the mother protested the changes. Yet years later no one is complaining, and Lambeau is far better off because of the changes. You can draw parallels to the Fenway and Wrigley renovations, or the restructuring of Soldier Field (which is absolutely BEAUTIFUL on the inside) as well. All these changes were a necessary part of the passage of time and the realities of sports, not just as a pastime or game, but as a business.

This whole thing is beginning to take on a Manchurian Candidate sort of feel. One of these days we're all going to wake up and find out that the anti-luxury box movement actually started in East Lansing.

And This Is How You Repay Me?

A week ago I argued for Northwestern's continued inclusion in Kyle's revised Big Ten. To celebrate Northwestern's victory over Illinois for inclusion in this revitalized "Big 12 Ten", it appears the women's soccer team had quite the little "welcome to the team" party for their incoming freshmen. (HT: MZone)

This is the type of story that you desperately want to make jokes about, but are unsure where the line gets drawn. has all the details on this. There are loads of photos, but you might not want to open them up at work. (And all of a sudden everyone's doors close). Just to give you an idea as to what went on, the Chicago Sun Times has been following this as well:
About a dozen photos of the event depict women dressed only in T-shirts, underwear and knee-high socks. At least two women appear to be kissing each other. In some shots, the women are blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs. Others appear to feature women doing "lap dances'' for men [members of the men's soccer team].

Basically, its every teenage boy's favorite dream come to life. I'll let your mind wander on this one, but I'm left to a couple of questions that should never have to be asked: 1) Isn't Northwestern supposed to be the "smart" Big Ten school; 2) What the hell is going on in the North suburbs of Chicago; and 3) Why in God's name would you document this by bringing a digital camera along?

Ladies. Listen to me. If you're gonna do stuff behind closed doors that 'Nana wouldn't approve of, don't take photos. And if you do, make sure they're not internet accessible. Readers, you can go anyway you want with this story, but I'll just report whats happening on this one. At this point Northwestern is taking its time to decide what it wants to do with this situation. According to the Trib, as a private institution it has the freedom to decide punishments within its own code of conduct. Whereas if this occurred at Illinois of NIU, the State's higher educational regulations take over the disciplinary process.

Even though its already happened, someone's going to get more than a slap on the ass for this one.

Side note to Orson and Stranko: can this get Fulmer Cup points on the basis of just too stupid not to be included?

Speaking of Stupid People

If you haven't been following it, Longhorn's running back Ramonce Taylor was arrested carrying 5 pounds of weed. Picture the hippie from Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, then double the size of the bag. According to Burnt Orange Nation, he's been booted from the team and is awaiting a hearing on his arrest.

BON didn't stop there. They found his MySpace page. A ten-gallon hat tip to BON, outstanding work.


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