I missed the post from 11W last night, and was pretty surprised to see the mixed reaction from the commentariat. Because I woke up with a wrenched neck and old man grumpiness, I figured I would run through the whole stadium process to do my best to provide context regarding the stadium's point, financing, and other trivia.
1. Show Me The Money.
Aside from money towards rendering, NO Ohio State money was or will be spent towards the construction of this facility. It was glossed over in the release, but I want to reiterate this again. The money for this stadium has been in the works for two years thanks to the fundraising arm of the athletic department.
It's been a lacrosse family affair from the jump. The lead fundraiser, Kevin Duffy, played goalie for the men's team, and helped kickstart the campaign in 2019. They managed to get over $10 million donated prior to Covid shutting down everyone in 2020. Obviously, it took a little over a year to get the donations in for this project to be fully funded. This isn't a matter of the University being cavalier with money, it's literally what the alumni wanted. You can't be more prudent with funds than telling your programs "you want it, you pay for it." They're even using lacrosse alumni for the architecture, which is pretty neat.
This is also why the stadium isn't multi-purpose. No other team helped raise the money, and no athletic dollars were committed, so the project stands as a lacrosse only one. Personally, I feel that's pretty fair.
The biggest issue this facility helps alleviate is practice availability. The athletic department does a good job balancing the practice needs of 36 varsity teams, but it is not easy to get practice time when you're competing for limited facility space. Early mornings, late evenings, all that jazz hits the men's and women's teams.
Now, there are 24 hours for 2 teams to find a practice niche. That's a lot more breathing room than before. BOTH squads can have a better routine, efficient practices, and space to do whatever is needed.
Gameday experiences in Ohio Stadium are fantastic for football, but it's just not that great for lacrosse. Seating for over 100,000 people just dilutes the crowd too much to be really enjoyable. Plus, broadcasts fromBTN+ are absolutely atrocious.
They'll stick a terrible camera at the very top of the stadium, and try to max zoom. You can't see numbers, and it's impossible to follow the game. This fixes that problem in spades, and will make it much easier to schedule midweek games, especially under the lights.
All of college sports is an arms race, and OSU was the only Midwest major program without a designated lacrosse stadium. Notre Dame, TSUN, Denver, and Penn State have lacrosse-specific stadiums. Those are teams Ohio State is constantly competing with to attract recruits.
This also provides a leg up to start drawing in players who might otherwise go to Maryland or Johns Hopkins. Those programs play in football stadiums, mostly because they need to. Ohio State always has Ohio Stadium in reserve should the program reach those same heights. This stadium is an effective bridge for a program itching to become elite.
For all of these reasons, this is a move that should be celebrated. The staff and university have done a tremendous job to upgrade a non-revenue sport's profile, without costing the athletic department any funding aside from the land. This is a huge win just about any way you slice it, and will pay big dividends down the road.