Padway: Renovations could bring enthusiasm to stadium
- Mar. 5, 2012
- 1 Comment
There are many reasons why Allen Fieldhouse is considered one of the greatest college basketball venues in the country, but the most important reason is the fans. What separates it from other modern facilities is the fact that 16,300 fans are packed right next to the court, allowing them to generate noise as loud as a jet engine.
The same intimacy fans have at the Fieldhouse doesn’t translate to Memorial Stadium, though, where an Olympic-quality track separates the fans from the action.
That separation not only distances the fans, but it makes it easier for opponents to concentrate since the sound easily escapes the stadium.
But good news is on the horizon: Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger said he has plans to remove the track from the stadium.
Part of the lack of enthusiasm in the stadium can be attributed to the lack of success that the Jayhawks have had on the gridiron in recent years. Even though Memorial stadium has produced NFL greats such as Gale Sayers and John Riggins, the football tradition doesn’t match that of one of the most storied schools in college basketball history.
With the hiring of Charlie Weis, the students, fans and boosters are excited for the first time since Mark Mangino took the school to back-to-back bowl games, including the Jayhawks first BCS game victory.
Zenger and the Athletic Department has yet to release plans regarding the removal of the track. Since the Gridiron Club renovation plans fell through, though, some may view this with skepticism. Zenger would have to work around the problem that this move could relocate the historic Kansas relays, an event that began at Kansas in 1923.
But now is the time to put the plan into action. With the current shuffling of football powers looking complete for the next few years, Kansas needs to make a power play to keep itself in the running to stay in a BCS conference when the next set of realignment hits.
Getting a big name such as Weis to come was a good first step; improving the game day atmosphere in Memorial Stadium is next.
But while Zenger can remove the track and put the fans right next to the action, he can’t do it all by himself. It’s up to the fans to show up and intimidate the opposing team with their loud, unparalleled spirit.
Edited by Taylor Lewis