PantherU

On-Campus Arena?

This originally started as a comment on JSOnline.com; I didn’t have enough space, so I continued it here:

“fan64: first of all, THANK YOU for being a Milwaukee Panther season-ticket holder.  I think I can speak for the athletic department when I say that the UWM community greatly appreciates your commitment to Panther Basketball.

I just wanted to address some of your concerns, and while they might not be 100% satisfactory, they might help you better understand the possibilities of the on-campus arena.

1. Parking.  When games were played at the Klotsche Center previously, parking was a major issue.  The Pavilion, completed after the move downtown, includes 700 spots of underground parking for spectators.  That won’t entirely solve the problem, but your days of walking more than a block or two are gone, that is if we play in the KC footprint.  It’s funny that you bring up Wisconsin Football, because I don’t know where you park a game at Camp Randall Stadium.  Seems like that is a walk as well.

2. Outside entertainment. The final place for the arena will make a big difference when discussing the potential eateries.  I’ve heard several possible spots: the current KC, a section of the hospital, the current Wisconsin Paperboard Company land (they may be moving), even across the street from the Riverview dorms where there is currently a Pick and Save.  Rest assured that the North Avenue spaces will have plenty of entertainment pre-and-post game.  If it’s on the footprint, I know of two separate groups of alumni that right now HAVE the capital and are planning to open Panther-themed sports bars should men’s basketball move back to campus.  If it’s on the current KC footprint, I would expect that walking distance to those places would be still a long ways for some fans.

3. Alcohol sales. Contrary to popular belief, the NCAA does not have a clause banning alcohol sales at on-campus sporting events.  Instead, the NCAA bylaws state that it is the Chancellor or President, in our case Carlos Santiago, that sets alcohol policy.  He currently allows the sale of alcohol at the Cell, and you can bet he will hear these concerns and address them should the team move back to campus.  I expect beer will still be served at the on-campus arena; you can already drink at the Gasthaus on UWM’s campus.

4. Driving. There’s no getting around this fact: the Cell is far easier to access than the UWM campus.  However, to say that UWM’s campus is not accessible is ludicrous.  Should the arena be placed around North Avenue (where there will be 2,000 students living in University Housing alone as of this fall), there is Oakland, Downer and Humboldt to the north, North and Locust to the west, Lincoln Memorial Drive to the East, and Farwell, Oakland, Humboldt, and several others to the south.  If the arena is on campus, we have Locust and Capitol to the west, Oakland and Lake to the north, Downer, Maryland and Oakland to the south, and Lincoln Memorial to the east.  There is plenty of access.  You just have to drive on a city street for a mile or so.

5. Whoever is coach or athletic director should have no bearing on this project.  If we don’t build the team a new arena, Jeter may stay or go.  If we build it, he may stay or go.  We’re not building him a house, we’re building ourselves a house.  Rob Jeter, Bud Haidet, George Koonce, this is not their program, just like Barry Alvarez, Bo Ryan and Bret Bielema don’t own the Wisconsin program.  They are caretakers of OUR program.  Does UWM drop the Master Plan if Carlos Santiago takes a job elsewhere?  Of course not, we move forward. So suggesting that a basketball coach be replaced before we build an arena is absurd; what if the next coach isn’t good, do you not build it again?  Do we build this arena based on something as fleeting as a win-loss record?

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