Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Mailbag Question: Basketball Question

Hello guys,

Not sure if you will answer any basketball questions, but just wondering what you think Bill Martin and the university is waiting on in regards to the hoops program in getting basketball renovations since it seems every other program including baseball / softball / wrestling /soccer teams have already gotten their renovations?

Do you also know what the attendance for Crisler Arena is now?




Thanks for the question. Yes, we will answer basketball questions as long as we know, or can find out, the answers.

The attendance for Crisler Arena is 13,751.

Michigan was lax when it came to updating all their facilities. It hurt their recruiting efforts in most sports.

Many football recruits and camp visitors left Michigan shaking their heads when comparing Michigan facilities to others in the Big Ten (especially Ohio State) and around the country.

Michigan not cutting the number of non-revenue sports made it difficult to keep up with others who were not so burdened. Michigan being a "PC" stronghold also hurt in this endeavor.

Most major colleges realize who pays the bills and take care of the "cash cows" programs. Remember, Michigan leaves a lot of money on the table by not advertising in Michigan Stadium. Without super efforts by Coach Schembechler, many of facilities we have would be even more sub par.

Many facilities have not been updated in over twenty-plus years before Bill Martin took over as athletic director.

The baseball and softball complex was completed last season. The reason is that they received a large amount of money to get the program going. Mr. and Mrs. Wilpon (Mets owner) donated a large sum of money for this, something like four million dollars.

The wrestling program received many donations as well and that is why they decided to have their own practice facility (at the tennis center location) instead of waiting to be added to the basketball practice facility because they have gotten support and money raised for their program.

The soccer stadium and soccer practice facility was built because the new football practice facility needed a place and took over where the old soccer field was located. In regards to the football practice facility, it has been said it took ten years to generate the money to get the facility built.

Well, we have said back in June (http://gobluemichiganwolverine.blogspot.com/2008/06/michigan-tidbits-football-and-hoopheads.html) that things were looking good for a new basketball practice facility. We believe it was delayed a little bit because of donations falling through along with the downturn of the Michigan economy. In addition, the football luxury boxes have not been selling as hot as they were when it started. They have 54 suites sold now in which in the spring they 42 suites. Also they have nearly 2,000 club seats sold.

What will happen when Crisler is renovated? From what we have heard, they are looking to make it smaller (around 12,000) or so, but this might depend on what price tag they decide to go with in regards to the plan.

Of course, a lot of this depends on how much money they decide to put into Crisler Arena. From what we heard a long time ago (nothing recently) they are doing like they did with the football renovations and getting three plans with three different price tags (small 25 million, medium 50 million, and larger 75 million - not saying those are the amounts they will spend just giving you an idea of what it could be). Michigan stadium went with the medium renovations and I believe Crisler will probably do the same thing, so I predict around 50 million.

What will be included? Well, from different ideas I have heard, it depends upon which price tag they choose. Some of the ideas I've heard involve making the arena smaller so there's more of a demand for tickets for every game, especially when this team gets good. Have heard they would like to somehow add luxury boxes, but am not sure if this is included in all the plans or just the high-end plan.

The main things that will get done are better seats. Keep sprucing up the place like they have the last couple of years: re-doing the locker room, the S&C room, and hiring an NBA S&C coach, new hoops, new shot clocks, re-doing the floor, new scorer's table, new lights, new speakers, etc. Have heard they want to paint the ceiling white to brighten it even more, make the concourse bigger for fans to move around easier and have more points of sale stuff (food, merchandise, etc.) and re-doing and expanding the restrooms for both men and women.

The win against Duke was huge, not only for the basketball team, but for the program and the direction its heading. In addition, the Duke game brought a lot of interest which included a sell-out crowd, and right now, that might be more important than the actual win because it is showing that people are interested in basketball and want to see them do well. As they start winning, especially against good teams, the fans start to show up which might put the renovation plans into play.

Been told by several people that Martin is going to take plans to the regents, or at least float the idea of something being done for the practice facility, in January. I believe it takes the regents three to four meetings to pass it all, before any new ground will be broken.

There is discussion of making the Maize Rage area (bench seating) bigger: going around the tunnel area where the band is now located, but that still might depend on the students' support.

People have complained to us about the students having to walk so far and in the cold, etc. Well, against Duke, they had no problem walking so far in the coldest day of the year, with bad conditions. It comes down to if they want to do it or not. Of course, winning might make this a hot ticket again and students might just want to go there no matter whom Michigan plays.

Things are being done: it just might not seem fast enough for some people, but they are being done -- slowly. We are confident that the practice facility (20 – 25 million?)is on its way very soon -- VERY SOON -- and then after the Michigan Stadium renovation is done, look for Crisler Arena to get its facelift (50 million?).

Written by ErocWolverine and CoachBt

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