Since a nasty debate with my friend Thomas about the idea of a new CSU football stadium, I’ve made up my mind: Let’s just build the darn thing to prove the Doubting Thomases wrong.
Thomas said, “The CSU football team can’t fill Hughes Stadium, so how could it fill a bigger stadium?” Tom, you’ve got no vision. A stadium will fill up if it’s on campus.
“Moby Arena’s on campus and it never fills up,” Thomas said. So I replied, “That’s because it’s not open to the sky.” And Thomas said, “Like Hughes Stadium already is,” so I stammered, “B-but we can have national prominence.”
“Well, can’t we be famous for academics?” Thomas said, making me laugh. Such a quaint notion. Consider what Colorado State University’s athletic director Jack Graham eruditely said about exceptional athletic performance: “[It’s] why we cheer.” Granted, we cheer about academic performance but only at rare graduation ceremonies. The new stadium will have us cheering at every home game.
“That’s six times per year,” Thomas said. “Why spend $200 million on something that’s idle 359 days a year?”
Thomas, you’ve got no creativity. With a finite supply of donor dollars shifting from academics to football, class sizes would have to get bigger. The entire class of 2020 could take freshman English together, in the stadium, from only one teacher. Talk about efficiency!
Even though students would be able to walk to the big game, Thomas still worries about traffic: “The west edge of town already clogs up on game day, so imagine the congestion with the stadium in town.” Thomas, think of it like a scrimmage game. Northern Colorado eventually will be one big sprawl from Wellington to Colorado Springs, with L.A.-style gridlock, so we might as well train for it now.
Thomas works for CSU, so every year he agonizes about how many professors, staffers and academic programs will get axed by decimated education budgets, causing him serious heartburn. I say tear off the Band-Aid all at once. Become a football school. Let the penny loafer universities like Princeton (what a name) make their reputations with academics.
Thomas looked puzzled and asked, “You mean academics no longer counts?” For some eastern schools, yes. But when you think of Nebraska, Alabama, USC, Michigan and Ohio State, what pops into your head? Football, not education. CSU should be on that list, attracting better students, at least among those who care about football more than anything else. And we’ll attract better players.
That was when Thomas committed a personal foul. He read this blurb from Forbes: “(University football caters to) a very small number of (exclusively) male students, most of whom get a poor education and almost none of whom succeed as professional players. Our universities are providing a free training ground for the super-wealthy owners of professional football teams, while getting little in return. This has got to stop.”
Thomas looked at me and said, “Hughes Stadium, recently remodeled and landscaped, is gorgeous with amazing views, is easy to access and never fills to capacity. What problem are we trying to fix?”
He made me so furious I started researching to find proof that on-campus stadiums pay off. I didn’t find anything. But I’m convinced we should build, if only to prove Thomas wrong. He’s been so smug lately.