St. John Arena and Assembly Hall: Ohio State's Past, Indiana's Present

By Nicholas Jervey on March 1, 2014 at 6:00a
An honest-to-goodness cathedral Ohio State was wise to leave behind.

Ohio State University Photo

46 Comments

Playing Indiana at Assembly Hall is a hellish experience.

There's so much to hate about playing at Assembly Hall – haughty fans, those stupid striped pants, Tom Crean's all-around dickishness, the Hoosiers getting calls that would make an NBA All-Star blush – and another factor for the game on Sunday that trumps them all. You see, Indiana is playing mind games with Ohio State: will a piece of ceiling come loose and injure an Buckeye player? We'll never know until we find out!

To Indiana, the falling beam that made so many headlines last week represents a season that is falling apart. The Hoosiers are 6-9 in conference play one year after an outright Big Ten title, 16-12 after receiving a top seed in the NCAA Tournament. The damage was as unexpected as Indiana's regression.

To Ohio State, it's a reminder that Buckeye hoops has a foundation that's 15 years ahead of Indiana's. We know this because it has been fifteen years since Ohio State abandoned its own outdated venue: St. John Arena.

Wanting a more permanent home than the Ohio Fairgrounds, Ohio State built St. John Arena in 1956. Named for former athletic director Lynn St. John and located across the street from Ohio Stadium, it cost a paltry sum: $4 million, roughly $34 million in 2014 dollars.

Not the prettiest sight, comrade.

The exterior of St. John Arena is ugly as sin. With its boxy design and corrugated metal siding, it has all the grace of a Soviet skyscraper. The real beauty is the interior: 13,000 wooden chairs and a gleaming court, concrete floors with a dark sheen, scarlet banners covering the walls. It has real cachet.

Forty years of basketball teams played on that court, including Ohio State's only NCAA title in 1960. When it hosted full crowds, it was famously raucous. Its octagonal shape made even the worst seat in the house closer to the action than the entire upper deck at the new arena.

It's a beautiful arena with tremendous sentimental value. It's still in good shape. The volleyball, gymnastics and wrestling events it hosts are warm and friendly. If Ohio State wanted, it could have played basketball there for a few more decades.

Instead, the Buckeyes play at the Schottenstein Center. The university will bulldoze St. John Arena in a few years.


Ohio State moved into the Schottenstein Center in 1998, and in all the time since we've cultivated complaints about the no-longer-new arena. It's too big. It's too cold. The seats are too far away. Walking another half-mile to the arena is so inconvenient. The acoustics suck. It doesn't have the same aura. It just isn't St. John.

No, the Schott isn't St. John Arena. It's better.

The mid-1990s did a lot to kill Columbus's interest in Ohio State men's basketball. A new arena helped revitalize interest – especially when Jim O'Brien took Ohio State to the now-vacated 1999 Final Four. Ten years of Thad Matta winning increased Ohio State's exposure; after appearing on national television so often for the last decade, the Schott is becoming a nationally recognized arena.

The top complaint about the Schott, its acoustics, is fading with time. As the Buckeyes have kept winning, fans filled the 19,000 seats. The student section, known as the Nuthouse, gives the arena energy to spare. The Schott has hosted its share of electrifying games, like ruining Michigan's undefeated season in 2013 or a #1/#2 match-up against Wisconsin in 2007. Its greatest moment, the 2005 victory over top-ranked and undefeated Illinois, was every bit as electric as people say St. John was.

 

The Schott is a multi-use stadium in ways St. John Arena never could be. It has luxury suites, a bigger jumbotron, and more comfortable seats. It has more concessions and bathrooms to handle people. It hosts P!nk concerts and dirt bike racing and Arnold Expo events, and it can hold those with far bigger crowds. It attracts tours and events that otherwise would have passed Columbus over.

Ohio State made the decision to forgo nostalgia for progress fifteen years ago, and the program has been on an upward climb ever since. The $115 million price tag on the Schottenstein Center ($155 million with inflation) was worth every penny.


A classic court. Not so much for the rest of the place.

By comparison, Assembly Hall is kind of a ripoff. Indiana built Assembly Hall in 1971, stealing its name from the Assembly Hall Illinois built eight years earlier. Indiana built the arena for a more lavish $26.6 million dollars, $155 million in 2014 dollars. Indiana's three basketball championships since then have established national cachet for Assembly Hall. Even when the Hoosiers were mediocre, ESPN loved to visit.

Recently, Indiana had a choice: renovate Assembly Hall, or build a new, improved arena? Renovations would have cost $115 million and a new arena would have cost $130 million. Despite a new arena providing more function at a bargain price, the school administrators decided to renovate in a few years.

Only a few months ago, the school announced it accepted a $40 million donation for renovating the aging arena. Too late; as of last week, Assembly Hall was literally falling apart. No one knows what Indiana will spend to fix that, but it must be millions. After all, nobody wants to get sued by the family of the poor sucker the second beam falls on.

If Indiana administrators ever do decide to tear down Assembly Hall for a new arena, expect Hoosiers fans to wail and whine. If they get their way, Indiana will keep Disassembly Hall – in all its cramped, overrated, dilapidated non-glory.

Unfortunately for Indiana haters, I'll have to skim over the amusing failures of Bobby Knight, Mike Davis, Kelvin Sampson, and Tom Crean. Instead, focus on the "return to glory" narcissism Indiana fans bought into last year. Indiana still thinks it's a top-5 program, even though it has nothing to boast about since Hulkamania was running wild.


A much prettier exterior. A blander interior. A better arena. (via official Ohio State athletics website)

Despite the most ardent Buckeye fan's protests, Assembly Hall has St. John Arena beat in national perceptions of prestige. But the last fifteen years have shown what a difference the two programs are going in.

Fifteen years after losing the reason for its existence, St. John Arena is quaint and functional. I've seen the intimate atmosphere of wrestling meets and men's and women's volleyball games. I have felt the buzz of the crowd for my freshman class's convocation and the din of jubilant Skull Session crowds. 

I'm not sad to see St. John Arena go. Ohio State soon will destroy it to make way for parking lots and dormitories, but Covelli Arena will be St. John's spiritual successor. Ohio State men's basketball will continue to excel in a modern arena. All is well.

Ohio State found a balance between old and new that left room for a promising future. What's your excuse, Indiana?

46 Comments

Comments

JozyMozy's picture

Great article, wasn't expecting a history lesson this early on a Saturday morning. Neat.

+1 HS
JohnDale's picture

Great article! As much as I hate to see St. John Arena go, its had its time and served us very well over the years.

Colerainbuck's picture

Have to admit I'll be sad to see the old place go! From high school basketball tournaments to Buckeye wrestling to legendary skull sessions, so many great memories.

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

I think the Schott really took it on the chin when nationwide opened up shortly after it. I understand the sentiment between the Schott and assembly hall but the Schott is pretty linear in its purpose.

Only 3 varsity sports use the Schott (men's and women's Bball and men's hockey). By comparison St johns and French field house host wrestling, volleyball, indoor track, men's hockey practice and all women's hockey activity.

the Schotts multipurpose use faded even more when Osu took control of non athletic events at Nationwide. Now the majority of headlining concerts happen there because of better access and surrounding amenities.

I like the Schott but in my opinion is not correlated to ohio states success in basketball. It may be nice by college basketball standards but has little to no multi-use utility.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+1 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

I don't think the Schott really took it on the chin until the OSU agreed to start funneling events to Nationwide...but even so, the Schott has served its purpose and paid for itself.  No way would OSU strike a deal that wasnt financially sound just to help out a struggling local entity...

At the time, the Schott was a great business decision.  Not only was it a massive upgrade in facilities for hoops but it reflected the image OSU was migrating towards.  The Schott allowed for more donations, more development, more suites, more seats/ticket sales and an large arena that would attract non-athletic events and generate big revenue.  It was really the first step to OSU having the biggest and best everything.

That was a semi-dark age where OSU hoops was a sleeping a giant and the University in whole was looking to up its admissions and standards.  I believe there is a direct correlation between the Schott and the improvement in the OSU hoops program, you could also argue Thad has a lot to do with that, but it also showed OSU's commitment to funnel resources, adapt and grow from a program standpoint and also a facilities standpoint.  It is a great multi-use facility for big entertainment acts as it serves as a big arena with many luxury boxes and was helping to offset any costs to the university to maintain.  OSU has definitely gone away from this and seem to have mostly abandoned it when the deal with Nationwide was struck.  However, this leaves the Schott as a fairly unique mega-venue for college hoops and is one of the reasons why OSU hoops is one of the handful of college basketball programs that turns a profit.

 

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

I don't think the Schott really took it on the chin until the OSU agreed to start funneling events to Nationwide...but even so, the Schott has served its purpose and paid for itself.  

It has most certainly not paid for itself. Still a long way to cover the debt from building it.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Chief B1G Dump's picture

It has most certainly not paid for itself. Still a long way to cover the debt from building it.

How do you figure?  That is a totally false claim:

  • $115,000,000 total for the Schott - $72,500,000 in donations = $42,500,000 left to repay at completion.
  • $195,000,000 revenue (15 years at a low ball estimate $13,000,000 a year profit) - $90,000,000 ($42.5mil bonds plus a ridiculously high interest) = a profit of at least $105,000,000 at the most ridiculously low profit estimates.

If you want to keep reading about where those numbers came from, here you go:

The building cost $115,000,000 in 1996-1998 and was a "public-private partnership."  According to OSU, no student fees or general university funds are or were used for the Schott.  Less the major gifts listed below, the building was funded entirely through bond sales and private fund raising.  OSU is tax exempt and the land is under abatement.  I do not know the full deal structure but here is some very basic math:

You had $15,000,000 capital appropriation from the state of Ohio, a $12,500,000 donation for naming rights from Jerome Schottenstein, a $5,000,000 gift from Huntington Bank - This totals $32,500,000...$115,000,000 - $32,500,000 = $82,500,000 remaining.  On top of that number, over $40,000,000 was raised through private gifts...so take the $82,500,000 remaining and subtract the $40,000,000 in gifts and you had $42,000,00 left to be paid through varying bonds.

Per the Schott website, they average over 1,000,000 visitors a year.  Say you take an extremely low ball average entry price to get in the doors of $15...thats $15,000,000 a year.  There are also 52 luxury suites in the Schott.  They lease from $45,000 to $65,000 a year and come in 5, 7, or 9 year leases.  Say only half (extremely low ball estimate) are leased per year at the lowest rate of $45k...and thats $1,170,000 a year (again, extremely low).  Now say between parking and concessions profits, the average guest spends $2 a trip to the Schott...thats $2,000,000 a year.  These numbers total $18,000,000 per year.  Say the building costs $5,000,000 a year to operate (which is ridiculously high since OSU generates at least a portion of its own electricity, etc) and that equals $18,000,000 - $5,000,000 for a total of $13,000,000 a year. 

We wont count 2014 and will say since 1998 the Schott has been open 15 years.  Thats 15 years times $13,000,000 for a total of $195,000,000.  This does not account for any other advertising dollars, continued donations, endowments, other fund raisers, added event revenue, tenant dollars for the entities that lease space in the building, etc....

This money is BY FAR more than enough to pay off the bonds sold plus interest.  Not to mention all of the extra benefits of the marketing for OSU, the facilities to attract player/coaches, the facilities to attract and accommodate big name artists who pump countless added dollars into the local economy, the spark to develop a blighted side of campus, the momentum to raise nearly a billion dollar general fund, etc...

So again, please tell me how the Schott has not paid itself off.

 

osu07asu10's picture

That is interesting, care to provide a link for those assumptions?

Because in 1998 when the Schottenstein Center opened, OSU officials said it would take 30 years to cover the debt, so 5 more years if they are on target.

By 2000, OSU officials admitted that they were behind on revenue projections for the Schott, with revenues decreasing each year it was open.

For mens basketball, the best average attendance through 2010 (the big "money maker") occurred the first year the Schott was opened (98-99).  2006 represented the best year of attendance for the Schott under Thad Matta, with attendance records declining each year since.

For non-athletic events, the Schott was hoping to schedule 25-30 events annually. Once Nationwide opened in 2000, the Schott struggled to schedule 20 annual events. Things got so dicey for OSU, that in 2010, they signed an agreement with Nationwide that allows OSU to schedule non-athletic events at both facilities.

Even if they met all attendance expectations and operated at/under projected costs, according to the Ohio State Athletic Department, the Schottenstein center would not be paid off until 2018 at the earliest.

The fact that they have not met attendance expectations for men's basketball, men's hockey, non-athletic events, did not meet revenue expectations in the first 3 years (highest 3 year average attendance for mens bball), and higher than expected operating costs, the Schottenstein Center has definitely not paid itself off.

So again, please tell me how the Schott has paid itself off.
 

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+1 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

+1 for the research.  However, all of your linked articles claiming decreasing revenue are over a decade old.  Lucky for the University and the Schottenstein Center, OSU employs 1,000s of people who work wonders with money, financials, development, marketing, etc - especially over time.  The truth probably lies somewhere between the two of us but 15 years later, following the money is pretty tough after scores of reinvesting, continued capital improvements, and deal restructuring.  Again, I do not know the full structure of the Schott financing and I dont care to sift through OSU's full financial report as they move money from coffers, investments, funds, credit, or from pot to pot, college to college...but you may do so as they are a public University.  The only reason that Lantern (student) writer mentions 30 years in the article you linked is because a portion of the bonds have a 30 year duration...between me reading that article (from 1998) and typing this, OSU could have have paid those off 100 times in todays dollars if they needed to and or it made sense.

My point is that, there is no way that Ohio State is eating it financially at the Schott.  There is a reason the University lists the Schottenstein Center as an asset and continues to pump money into upgrades ($19mil addition) and have already set in motion a master plan to redevelop the athletic corridor with the Schott as the anchor tenant.  Whatever the portion of bonds were/or possibly still are, they are financed as such that the Schott itself is paying back variable rates over varying term lengths by way of its own generated revenue.  The Schott has not ever been a financial burden to the University's general fund and/or student fees and the overall "borrowing" was largely mitigated by public-private donations and funding. Between 15 years of PSLs, luxury boxes, event sales, concession dollars, continued licensing agreements, parking dollars, added television/broadcast rights, naming rights in the arena, etc...the Schott is easily a self sustainable building and paid for and/or paying for itself. 

For non-athletic events, the Schott was hoping to schedule 25-30 events annually. Once Nationwide opened in 2000, the Schott struggled to schedule 20 annual events. Things got so dicey for OSU, that in 2010, they signed an agreement with Nationwide that allows OSU to schedule non-athletic events at both facilities.

Using the very article you linked, the Schott now has the ability to schedule whatever it needs to hit its financial mark by way of the deal with Nationwide.  I do not see any issue hitting 25-30 non athletic events as in the near future, I see 11 big non-athletic events on the calendar in just a 4 month span.

I can agree that the Schott is not the best venue from a design and feel perspective...and also in an outlier location for the last 15 years...but Ohio State has no financial problem making that building work for the University.  That building has and will continue to pay for itself.  I'm sure on the books they have rolled debt over, paid some off and extended more lines of credit to free up cash for other moves and improvements...but when push comes to shove, between the Schott, the Athletic Department and the University there is enough financial solvency that they can financially do whatever they want.  The Schott is not a bad business move or it would have gone away.

This is strictly dollars and cents, not even factoring that OSU had outgrown St John Arena, there was no major Arena in CBus at the time, the short term and long term growth and development visions for OSU, the life it pumped back into hoops and facilities it offered, the attraction it created, the land it made valuable as linking central to new campus sprawl...

Perhaps one day, you, me and Bassdropper can get a box at the Schott for a One Direction concert and discuss this over some Zimas.

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

The Schott is not a bad business move or it would have gone away.

They would just knock it down or board it up and go back to playing at SJA? My point was never that Ohio State shouldn't have built the Schott or that the Schott was not a necessary move for the athletic department.

To believe that the Schott is making money hand over fist for the university and the athletic department is simply not true. From the onset, they struggled to hit revenue projections. As late at 2010 they were struggling with non-athletic events which necessitated them signing a deal with Nationwide. Men's basketball and Men's Hockey attendance has not met expectations. All of these point to the Schott not fully realizing its revenue potential.

Is it an asset for Ohio State? Absolutely. Does it generate revenue hand over fist? Hardly...

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

osu07asu10's picture

Also, St. John's is not being destroyed to make room for the Covelli center. It would be destroyed to make room for classrooms and dorms.

The Covelli center would be built up on Ackerman Road. Also I believe Gene Smith said the project is 5-10 years from even beginnig due to fundraising. I bet St. John's hangs around a little while longer.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+1 HS
Nicholas Jervey's picture

You're right about the location of Covelli Arena; I was caught up on the Panera Bread that sits across from St. John since Sam Covelli owns it & all the others. Fixed.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

703Buckeye's picture

Great article; definitely proves that progress, while sometimes painful is often for the greater good. I highly doubt Buckeye basketball would be where it is without the new arena. Cases like Duke, with Cameron Indoor are a very rare exception to the rule.

I have one correction though... Hulkamania will always run wild!!!

 

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

+2 HS
Nicholas Jervey's picture

I'm looking forward to Wrestlemania XXX, brother. Hulk Hogan is hosting it, dude.

...brother.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

703Buckeye's picture

I still watch Wrestlemania for cases just like this, getting to see some of the older guys (Undertaker/HHH/Hogan) on the big stage.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

Shangheyed's picture

Undertaker is no longer with us... he is indeed 6 ft. under.

 

Give Me SUPERFLY!   And I will be happy!

703Buckeye's picture

Taker is wrestling Lesnar... he's still doing his once a year appearance.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

HandsOfSweed's picture

Shit. Thanks for the reminder. I totally forgot to take my vitamins this morning.

bucksfan92's picture

As a student at OSU from '89-'92 when we were much stronger in basketball than football I have to say I have a completely different view of SJA.  While I was there I hated the place.  It was old, cramped, hot, took forever to get a hot dog or go to the bathroom, but it was LOUD.  SJA was probably the best home court advantage in the country.  With all that metal and wood every single sound reverberated around the tin box.  Students were literally 3 feet from the end line and surrounded the lower bowl.  When we moved to the Schott it did get less loud, even though there were 6000 more people in there.  The game that brought it all back for me was, of all games, an NIT game.  The one vs Cal.  SJA was packed to the rafters and ROCKING.  OSU blitzed Cal early and I was close enough to see the completely dazed looks on their players' faces.  It was a familiar look of all the teams that played against OSU there in the early '90s.

Now, I will say the atmosphere in the Schott has improved by putting students not only under the basket, but also back behind the team benches - that should have been done from the start.  I still miss the atmosphere, loudness, and character of SJA and will be sad to see it torn down.  I liked having a basketball specific arena.  But times change and the Schott is building some character, I just don't ever see it getting to the level of SJA.

+4 HS
bukyze's picture

I was a student from '86 to '90, and I completely agree.  There is a complete disconnect from the game when sitting in the upper sections of the Schott.  To capture any nuances of what's going on, you have to watch the jumbotron.  The whole building is nice, but I'd gladly give up a couple thousand seats if that meant a tighter, closer, more intimate, louder, in your face atmosphere.

+2 HS
OSUNeedles's picture

That NIT game is easily my favorite basketball game I have been to in the past 10 years. Whether it is nostalgia or that the environment is really that much better, I am not certain. I have a feeling that half of us in the stands that game were also there to prove how much better of an environment there was back in the good ol' days... With that said, the Schott has certainly helped recruiting and provided revenue to the university. I have seen 4 or 5 concerts in the Schott that I can say, with confidence, would not have taken place on campus without the new arena being there. Love the Schott for what it provides, but miss the hell out of the loud, old, dump that provided so many great memories.

+1 HS
Riggins's picture

Yes!  I was there for that NIT game.  That place was loud, humid, and rocking that day. Total throwback feel.

Firedup's picture

If I remember correctly, that NIT game was sold on general admission alone. Clearly the dedicated younger fans showed up and made it loud. Being young that we first and last Buckeye basketball game in SJA and nothing has compared to it here during my time as a student. I wish we would host a throwback game in SJA  much like Sparty  did last year at Jennings Hall with Tuskegee? 

"Making the Great State of Ohio Proud!" UFM

Dillon G's picture

Treg Lee's score with the assist from JJ is the best thing I remember in SJA.

+4 HS
ScarletNGrey01's picture

I was at the Schott a couple of seasons ago for the Duke game.  The entire building was literally shaking.  I read afterwards that it was measured (who knew they measured?) as the loudest decibel level ever in that building.  I did attend a couple of games back in the old days in SJA ... to let you know how old I am ... the guys out on the floor included Al Hornyak and Luke Witte.  It did have a great atmosphere and was a classy place on the inside.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+1 HS
ScarletNGrey01's picture

Then of course there is this famous Assembly Hall moment:

 

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

+1 HS
osu07asu10's picture

I love the (non)reaction from officials. If anyone tossed a chair across the floor with that much fury a shit storm of CSC Event Staff, LEOs, and probably guys from both teams would have engulfed Knight.

I know he was ultimately ejected but that official just kinda stands there like, "This son of a bitch has lost his damn mind..."

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

Chief B1G Dump's picture

No doubt...Also, ESPN would go ape sh!t over it for a week or so and then make a documentary about it a year later.  The person that chair bounced of would sue for physical and emotional damages.  

His antics would not make it in todays day and age...

buckeyedude's picture

That's what PC has gotten us. Personally, I think college basketball is a lot less fun without Bobby Knight.

 

 

DLJad's picture

The Schott is a beautiful facility. It is uncertain whether it will ever achieve the ambiance of SJA. It can if the students and other seat holders exhibit the same passion accorded tOSU football.

Me thinks the ascension of the hoops program is more a function of Thad Matta. (I acknowledge the recruiting assist provided by the newer facilities.)

Thanks for the Sylvester video! Gus is, flat-out, the best at calling basketball.

+1 HS
BuckFly's picture

As a member of TBDBITL in the early eighties, skull sessions in SJA were simply awesome. The cozy confines and seating arrangements made the event as memorable as the Ramp entrance into the stadium that shortly followed.  I will miss it when it is gone...

 

+5 HS
bkleppel's picture

Have they talked about what they're going to do about skull session? are they going to have it at the schott and bus people over? or make the band march all the way from the schott?

BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Yes I am glad Ohio State went the route they did and got an up to date, state of the art (for 1998 at least) basketball arena. Not only does it help with recruiting, it's just a big time arena (commonly referred to as an NBA caliber arena) for a program that has gotten to big time heights under Coach Matta. Having said that, I LOVE when Ohio State plays at Assembly Hall, or even just watching  big time IU games at AH on television. I also side with Indiana fans and the university, there is going to be a time further on down the road where they want to tear down Ohio Stadium, and call it outdated. They can go to hell. Keep fighting IU fans, keep your outdated stadium, that stadium is part of the history, and legacy that is IU. 

I've spent time in the South, I don't care what anybody says they don't have the passion for football that us Ohioans have. 

+2 HS
Floyd Stahl's picture

Another flaw of Assembly Hall is that it is built like a football stadium, as the vast majority of seats are along the sidelines, with not too many behind the baskets. I took a tour of Assembly Hall many years ago, and the tour guide admitted that IU had made a mistake in doing this, as the football stadium was built at the same time, and the athletic administration thought basketball seating should be configured the same way. You think they would know better at a "basketball school." Derp.

+2 HS
Bags5150's picture

I saw Ronald Reagan speak at SJA in 1984...that was my best moment there.  JJ to Treg Lee was a close second.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth~Mike Tyson

+6 HS
BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Does anybody know where they plan to relocate the Skull Session before football games? Or If they even plan on continuing that tradition at all? I think the skull sessions play not only a huge role in getting the football crowds pumped up for the big game, but they are also a great recruiting tool. As much as a recruiting fanatic that Coach Meyer is I'm sure they plan on continuing the Skull Session tradition.

I've spent time in the South, I don't care what anybody says they don't have the passion for football that us Ohioans have. 

+1 HS
ScarletGray43157's picture

My question exactly.  It would not be Skull Session without SJA, but where else could Skull Session be held?  The team won't walk from the Blackwell to the Covelli Arena on Ackerman Road and back to The Shoe if the Skull Session is there, although shutting down Olentangy River Road and the Lane Avenue bridge for the band to march from a Covelli Arena Skull Session to The Shoe would be an epic new tradition. 

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

+1 HS
niblick's picture

In no way, in any universe, is the schott better than st john, period.

+5 HS
Travis's picture

Sorry, but St. John Arena is always going to be the better arena for me.

The Schott is nice, but it doesn't have the atmosphere that SJA has.

They need a 2 to tie, a 3 to win it; Sylvester for threeeee... OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH OHHHHHHHHHHH WITH FIVE POINT ONE TO GO!!!

+4 HS
Bailey458's picture

The Schott is great and has a functional purpose that far surpasses SJA.  But my favorite basketball experience ever and always will be watching JJ and the Bucks beat the Fab Five with my Dad sitting in the first row behind one of the corner scoreboards.  Short of seeing a National Championship win in person I don't know what will ever be better (in basketball I mean, as being at the Miami v. OSU NC game was a borderline religious experience and one of the happiest days of my life).  St Johns was so electric, loud and intimate, I have never seen anything like it to this day.  I've been to many Buckeye games at the Schott and some very big wins nothing ever seemed to compare.  I hope I have not seen the two greatest Buckeye games I will ever see already but those two will always be right up there no matter what.  Get to work Thad and Urb I think we are all ready, and approaching overdue, for the next epic moment that tilts in our favor.
 

+1 HS
buckeyes7222's picture

The only complaint I have when reading this article is that it portrays Value City Arena as a top notch home-court advantage arena. Let's not kid ourselves. The atmosphere is usually lacking if we're not inside the last three minutes of a huge B1G game.

+4 HS
route4buckeye's picture

Eh. I don't know about that. It gets pretty loud in the B1G for a big time opponent. The last time I was there, Michigan was about to be #1 and we knocked them off last year. The building was electric and shaking.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Good stuff here, Nick. Judging by your building descriptions, I didn't know you moonlit as an architect.  I also called it "St. John's" literally my whole life and was never called on it until about a month ago by a commenter. 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I never did get the chance to attend a basketball game at St. John's.  I've been to a few in the Schott, and they have been fun - it is a good atmosphere, and it's probably better than the last time I went now that there are students on the sideline as well as the baseline.  But I will miss St. John's for one thing - Skull Session. 

Skull Session in that building is simply awesome.  Sure, it's hot.  The seats are fairly tight (for a big-assed man like myself).  But that place was electric even for crap games, and unbelievable for games like '06 TTUN, '09 USC, and whatnot.  I don't know if anything has been decided about Skull Session post SJA demolition.
 

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
hetuck's picture

Assembly Hall parallels St. John in an another way: There was an engineering study in the 1970s over concern the balconies would collapse. An extreme amount of movement was felt during a rock concert and for a while the upper portion was closed. 

With the benefit of hind sight, it may have been best for all to build a joint arena on the Lennox site for NHL/OSU basketball/concerts and a Covelli-style arena for other sports, and a 5,000 seat hockey arena. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi