Thursday, April 19, 2007

WTI: The Triumvirate Convenes

Craig:  Game on...
Geoff:  And so we begin another edition of WTI, joined for the first time by Jeremy.
Jeremy:  Greetings
Geoff:  So with the three major sports' seasons being over, the news coming out of Ann Arbor has been scattershot.
Jeremy:  It's all gone downhill since Branch declared for the draft.
Craig:  Yes, but congrats to the baseball team for making the Top 25 with a ping
Geoff:  We've also got new facilities proposed for football, a lawsuit, various basketball dramatics... How about we start with the football program, since we haven't said much about that in a while?
Craig:  Agreed, even if we're just talking about Practice
Geoff:  It's a good thing Iverson isn't here.
Jeremy:  Just practice.
Geoff:  The new proposed indoor practice facility (which I promise I'll try not to always refer to as "Noosterbaan") will cost $26.1M.
Geoff:  And it's a clear symptom of the facilities arms race.
Craig:  Which leads to all sorts of further questions
Jeremy:  We can't have a practice facility gap!
Craig:  This will lead to a facilities U2 incident and a facilities Bay of Pigs fiasco and a facilities Fall Out Boy song. The last being the most dangerous
Geoff:  I think we can get by on being Michigan for a while, but you either jump in with both feet or become a second-class program in the long run. Which is pretty depressing when you're talking about college athletics.
Craig:  It really does. At some point, someone has to stand up and say no, and I don't know who will do it
Geoff:  It should be the NCAA, but they're gutless.
Jeremy:  They're saying it would go up "where an outdoor facility exists." So it's just a $26 million roof?
Craig:  And walls
Geoff:  And 2,000 seats is the rumor coming out of Maize n Brew.
Craig:  Hell, you could make a lacrosse facility out of that
Geoff:  Dave over there thinks that's a big part of the equation. The new fieldhouse means you can always guarantee the football team a place to practice, so lacrosse/everyone else can use the vacant one. I think Lloyd is just going to be really happy to finally hold all practices inside a fortress.
Craig:  Well, have you ever looked at the wall around the outdoor facility?
Geoff:  I remember a Daily column when I was in school where the writer was watching from his roof across State Street and within a few days had representatives from the Athletic Department pay him a call.
Jeremy:  It's not very high. I've heard someone -- yeah, you just said that.
Geoff:  Lloyd's just looking to close that loophole.
Craig:  True story: My sister when she was 14 was once practicing at UM's soccer field and my dad and one of my sister's friend's dad were just sort of standing at the top of the bleachers, looked over for five minutes and had a representative come over, 20 minutes after they stopped, politely requesting that they never do it again lest they call the police for trespassing. Which is very interesting, since it's all public ground
Geoff:  Craig, our friend Joe put it best when contrasting it with USC's open practices. Paraphrasing, "Why bother? Like Michigan's going to run a play no one's seen before?"
Jeremy:  A punt formation, maybe. Can we still joke about that?
Geoff:  Too soon! I kid, I kid. That was so weird.
Craig:  Is that three personal protectors?
Jeremy:  It's an open wound unless/until we beat Oregon this year.
Geoff:  OK, so the other piece of football news is the lawsuit brought on behalf of the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America, charging that the stadium renovation plans are not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. As usual, Brian's got the full breakdown of all of this, but the long and the short of it is...they definitely have a case.
Craig:  This is a lot of very interesting stuff, and while I don't have a strong feeling, I would like to see Michigan be compliant.
Geoff:  Running the numbers, I don't see how they could be, unless they get creative with their definitions, maybe saying that the skyboxes constitute new buildings and, hey, they've got plenty of wheelchair-accessible seating in those. Which seems a little chintzy to me.
Jeremy:  Someone pointed out the number of handicapped-accessible tickets actually issued is far less than the number of [seats] required for ADA compliance.
Geoff:  Yeah, I saw that there are only 52 season ticket holders needing them and full ADA compliance for the whole stadium would require 1,000 seats.
Craig:  But by the same token, are there people who would want them, but know they are bad seats?
Geoff:  There are currently 100 available in the endzones. So, they do kind of suck.
Geoff:  It would take a monstrous investment to put wheelchair-accessible seating on the 50 in row 20.
Craig:  Yes, you know that crazy missing section at Comerica. That kind of thing
Geoff:  Realistically, wheelchair-accessible seating can only be put in at ground level, which is Row 72.
Jeremy:  My grandma had one this year. Her biggest complaint was the foot traffic walking in front of her all the time, since that's the ground level entrance and there's a balcony-like area for wheelchair access.
Craig:  Yeah, that would kind of suck.
Jeremy:  In any case, while pursuing ADA compliance is a noble goal, it's not like there's a queue of people on five-year waiting lists for the tickets (or being forced to sit in 'regular' seats). It sounds like a disingenuous prop that the anti-luxury-box types are just throwing in the path.
Craig:  That's what really bothers me (and Brian hit upon this) the two things are becoming intertwined in a way that makes me sick.
Geoff:  Let's talk about the real issue behind this. The cost of devoting 1000 seats to handicapped patrons isn't a matter of installation fees. The cost comes because the seating areas for them have to be bigger. If each handicapped seat is equal to 2 regular seats, that's $60,000 lost by the athletic department [per game].
Geoff:  This is way too frustrating, because there has to be a way to have the stadium set up for a maximum of 1000 disabled visitors, but be able to convert the empty spots to regular seating if they don't fill up.
Geoff:  If you have only 52 who need the ADA-mandated seats, you should be able to sell the remaining 1900 equivalent seats to people who can pack the stadium.
Craig:  You know Geoff... When I went to the Tigers playoff game last year, we did just that, sat in seats set aside for disabled guests that weren't needed. So it can be done.
Geoff:  I think we should move on to basketball now. The Alex Legion saga has twisted and turned for some time now, just when it seemed Beilein was going to be able to keep the recruiting class intact.
Jeremy:  I don't think the loss of Legion would be devastating
Geoff:  It probably wouldn't.
Craig:  I just think the whole mom vs. Godfather angle thing is fascinating
Geoff:  It's very, very weird. Even though he's got a shot at playing college ball anywhere he cares to and maybe making the Association, I can't say I envy Alex Legion at this moment.
Jeremy:  The more damaging aspect would be be the public perception of Beilein and that he lost Tommy's guys
Craig:  Yeah, but as more of this comes out, I don't know how much of this falls on Beilein.
Geoff:  Yeah, that's where it's at. You don't want to give the Terry Fosters of this world any ammo.
Geoff:  The Reed Baker situation has quietly gotten strange, too. I guess Beilein has declined to drop a scholarship on him.
Craig:  Which is weird, because you would think that Baker would fit perfectly in the system
Geoff:  Do you think if Legion decommits that Reed Baker, Rainmaker gets to use that vacant slot? Or is he gone no matter what?
Craig:  I don't know, because it seems like we actually have extra scholarships, or is that presuming Legion does not sign
Jeremy:  He would've fit well into the system, with K'Len Morris coming back, and Smith and Baker as good shooters
Geoff:  I want to see what this walk-on from Alpena's going to be like. I saw him [Eric Puls] on some highlight reels on the local news when I was up skiing this winter.
Geoff:  Final item: Kevin Porter has been named the captain of the hockey team for next year.
Craig:  Northville represent!
Geoff:  Hopefully this means he'll be sticking around.
Jeremy:  it didn't keep Tambellini around.
Geoff:  You have a point.
Geoff:  I wonder why Red starting naming his captains and not allowing them to vote like they used to?
Craig:  So he didn't have to tamper with the voting like Herb Brooks
Jeremy:  So is the opposite of Schadenfreude the feeling you get watching MSU score the GWG with 18 seconds left on the one year we manage to beat them?
Craig:  Yes, yes it is
Geoff:  You're right on the mark there.
Craig:  Hockey Christmas became Hockey Passover (TM M. Coen)
Geoff:  As the firstborn male child in my family, that's an apt metaphor.
Jeremy:  Their last loss of the season was to us, in fact.
Jeremy:  In 1998, MSU had a 5-0 record against UM, and we lost in the CCHA semis, then went on to win the national championship. Apr 19 10:45 PM
Geoff:  Whoa. Freaky.
Jeremy:  So, bring back the 12-team tournament, and convince Michigan players to actually stay for 4 years.

1 comment:

Joe said...

The ADA discussion reminded me of my favorite fact about UM athletic facilities. The 3rd floor of the IM Building has handicapped-accessible restrooms. That's very nice and all, except for one problem: the third floor of the IM Building is not handicapped accessible.