Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Are Some Omahans Ignorant or Just Playing Hardball with the NCAA?

Every so often I hear a little bits of dissent against the idea of replacing Rosenblatt Stadium. Some of it is mostly ignorant of the realities of the situation. Others seem to think the NCAA is bluffing on this issue.

Are they bluffing? I'm not sure that calling the NCAA on this is a good idea. Even former mayor Hal Daub, who's been critical of his successor's attempt to guarantee a 20 year commitment from the NCAA, admits that Indianapolis and New Orleans made bids for the College World Series during his time in office. You call the NCAA's bluff on this, and you risk losing the whole thing. Think that's impossible? Tell the folks in Kansas City about it; they lost the NCAA headquarters and the Big XII basketball tournaments.

There are some practical reasons to oppose a new ballpark. Some point to the cost and the potential impact on taxes. They point to the future bills for utility improvements which will run into the billions. Definitely not chump change, that's for sure. But is it relevant? What happens to taxes if the College World Series leaves? Are we REALLY better off? $35 million in economic activity disappears from our community.

A common idea is that the College World Series would NEVER leave Omaha. Omaha supports it too well, with volunteers and tradition. It simply could NEVER succeed elsewhere.

Maybe. But in reality, likely not. CBS thought the NFL would never leave them...then lost the rights to the NFL for several years. Both the NFL and Big Ten conference continue to play hardball with cable companies and fans by insisting on placing games on their own cable networks. I'm sure many Cleveland Browns fans didn't think the Browns would leave, nor did Baltimore fans think their beloved Colts would leave. Those with the power will use it.

If you want to call the NCAA on this, prepare to face the end of the College World Series in Omaha.

1 comment:

Blankman said...

Honestly, I don't think it's worth it. Omaha has played ball with the NCAA thus far just not on this grand of a scale. Still, if it keeps the Series in O-Town, I'm all for it personally.