Today was a holiday that college football fans had to occasionally head inside to check the internet for the latest word on Ohio State. It was only inevitable that Jim Tressel was going to be removed as head coach; it was only a question of when. And with Sports Illustrated about ready to drop the bomb on Tressel and the Buckeyes, it was time to fly. And now the NCAA is digging into Terrelle Pryor's car deals as well? Start queuing up the "Lack of Institutional Control" moniker for The Ohio State University.
And with everything that's going down in Columbus, I'm not terribly worried about Bo Pelini flying the coop and heading back to his alma mater at this point. If the NCAA comes down hard on the Buckeyes, Pelini (and nearly every elite coach) won't go near a Buckeye program that will be on life support due to NCAA probation. I expect they'll lose so many scholarships that they'll quickly become uncompetitive in the B1G from 2013 through 2016.
And if they don't come down hard, Ohio State will pursue Urban Meyer hard. It sounds like Pelini is down the list a bit, and it sounds like there is mutual interest between Meyer and the Buckeyes. So at this point, it's not getting worked up about.
Several people have tweaked me about Tom Shatel's column with Omaha Royals or whatever owner Alan Stein over the Trailer Park. One thing is clear, Sarpy County and the Whatchamacallit's did a pretty good job building what they could out in BFE. (Of course, it clocked in at $36 million, a wee bit more than the $25 million that was originally thrown out there...) I know that Shatel was bedazzeled by all the "family friendly" amenities, though I do take issue with the idea that this is the norm for minor league baseball nowadays. Sure, some of this stuff is the norm, but the Trailer Park takes it to a whole other level. Even baseball park aficionados suggest that BFE's kids area is like no other.
I understand why the Whatchamacallit's did it this way; they sold this as what all parks do, so they did it to the extreme. They know that MECA is likely to bring an independent league team to the more centrally located TD Ameritrade Park downtown, and they needed to make a preemptive strike on that end. (I reject the idea that some of this wasn't possible at Ameritrade, with it's wide outfield concourses. Carnivals transport carousels and bouncy houses all over the place, and setting one up along the concourse shouldn't be a big deal with an eye towards removing it for the College World Series. Only the whiffle ball field probably wouldn't work downtown...)
And frankly, I'm not sure how "family friendly" the ballpark is when the carousel costs an additional $5 a person on top of the $11 reserved ticket. Just my observation is that families are trying to spend less money these days, so throwing a hard-to-ignore carousel in the outfield is kind of like the lady who goes around bars each night selling $5 roses, trying to make you feel like a heel for not buying one for your date. Suddenly, a trip to the ballgame for a family of four starts becoming rather expensive when you are spending $45 on tickets, $5 to park, and $20 for the carousel before you even get to the concession stand.
But hey...I'm cheap...
I also noticed that Stein concedes that attendance will be flat out in BFE this season over last season. The Trailer Park might be the only new stadium ever built that didn't result in a significant increase in attendance as fans flock out to see the new ballpark. Towson University recently determined that the average new AAA ballpark results in a 25% increase in attendance. So what happens after the new ballpark smell wears off, and the surrounding development continues to sit idle for another 5-7 years? Good question. Ask Council Bluffs Mayor Mike Hanafan about the Mid-America Center and how that's working out.
Oh, and I've neglected to mention that AJ's back to the blogging world. He's just as over-the-top and confused in his conclusions as ever, but he's still an entertaining read. (Now if he could just figure out how to get an RSS feed going...) And don't worry...he may claim the "Huskerh8er" retired victorious (umm, yeah, right...), but there's no way he can keep his dislike of Nebraska football fans in check all the time. So he'll still fire off an occasional illogical, but highly amusing, rant against Husker fans.