It seems that every couple of years, the city of Omaha does a survey to evaluate the Civic Auditorium. Problem with the place is while it's structurally sound, it's functionally obsolete and in dire need of maintenance work. Some people pooh-pooh the "functional obsolescence" declaration, but frankly, the Civic has been the destination of last resort for events in the Omaha area. Lancers need to escape Council Bluffs? Hello Civic. UNO needs a place to play division 1 basketball? Hello Civic. Those are stop-gap, interim solutions for both organizations. Last week, Ralston voters approved a bond issue to build a new 3500 seat ice rink for the Lancers, and UNO still likely is going to build their own arena for hockey and basketball. So that raises the question: just what good is the Civic anymore, and what should Omaha do with it?
And once again, some UNO fans are once again suggesting that UNO hockey move back to the Civic. Never mind that the Civic can't hold an average UNO hockey crowd, especially after last season's surge under Dean Blais. Some people remember the sight lines, and the crowd for that "Tuesday Night" play-in game against Bowling Green back in 2000, and jump head over heels for a return to the Civic. Ah, who cares if the plumbing doesn't work, adding in modern amenities means the capacity drops even further. Who cares if the Civic property has already been identified for redevelopment in the next 20 years. First drop of the hat, they're ready to jump back in the old hole.
Problem is, nobody's discussing whether it makes sense to renovate and upgrade the Civic. This survey seems to be intent on deciding whether it makes sense to make any repairs or start mothballing the place. That's not where UNO should play hockey; not if UNO considers themselves an up and coming national power. The only reason UNO should play at the Auditorium is if a natural disaster (Missouri River flood or tornado, for example) closes the Qwest Center. Here's hoping that the city can find a way to keep the place open for a couple more years. After that... time to start boarding the place up.
Today's World-Herald featured more interviews with UNO athletic director Trev Alberts and chancellor John Christensen, pretty much confirming my thoughts about ESPN's hatchet job the week prior. Problem is, Alberts and Christensen still aren't putting everything on the table. Just go ahead and release the numbers for football: tell us what UNO's football revenues were: tickets, concessions, advertising, etc. Tell us what UNO's football expenses are: salaries, scholarships, travel, etc. And let us draw our own conclusions. I don't think Alberts has anything to fear here; the story isn't going away quietly on it's own.
Speaking of "going away", Nebraska baseball got swept this weekend by Texas A&M. The World-Herald's Jon Nyatawa had a great interview with Tom Osborne over baseball, unless you are one of those people who want Mike Anderson drawn and quartered tomorrow. Osborne isn't going to throw any coach under the bus during the season, so why anybody expects him to do so now isn't clear. Mike Anderson isn't going anywhere until after the season, then after that, all bets are off. Right now, I think it's less likely that Anderson returns next season...but that's a decision that won't likely be made until June.
I do know one thing; Osborne doesn't look at coaches the same way fans do. Take Doc Sadler, who was rumored to be somewhere on Texas A&M's list of candidates for a new basketball coach. Smarter basketball people than me respect Doc Sadler and the job he's done at Nebraska, and while the results aren't what we want, I'm not sure anybody else could do any better. Unfortunately, that type of talk is pretty depressing. One thing is clear about Sadler: his teams have been getting better. This year, they were approaching the bubble of the NCAA tournament at one point. .. so fans have no choice at this point but to muddle through.