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Oracle: On Campus Stadium Debate!!!

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For those to lazy to click...

Stay at Ray Jay

Clean, new, efficient, it should be the Bulls’ home for years to come.

by Mike Camunas

October 26, 2005

Everyone, count your blessings. At least the Bulls have a place to call home.

Granted, there aren’t many teams that don’t have a home  except for the poor and unfortunate souls formerly at Tulane  but all teams have a stadium.

And the Bulls aren’t the only ones who have to travel to get home.

Pittsburgh travels seven miles to Heinz Field, the home of the Steelers.

Miami travels five miles to the Orange Bowl, which just happens to be older than Larry Coker’s fashion sense.

The Bulls probably have the longest bus ride to Raymond James Stadium: a 12-mile trek not only up the congested piece of asphalt that is Fletcher Avenue, but also traveling the monstrosity that is Interstate 275.

Sure, it’s not easy, and it would be even easier to cop out and say, “Well, Raymond James is the best the Bulls got.â€Â

But the bottom line: It is the best the Bulls have, because not only is an on-campus stadium not feasible in the near future for USF, it’s just not going to happen.

First off, say it did get approved. Where, per say, should the University build this magnificent palace? The rundown area where University Mall used to prosper? USF’s not interested in buying it and has stated so numerous times.

Oh yeah, they could tear down The Claw  where a round of golf is too expensive and the course has looked ragged since Hurricane Frances  and build it there.


USF is eager to get rid of that piece of land, and if they build it on top of The Claw, what would happen to Fletcher?

I’ll tell you what: Know what Interstate 4 is like on a Friday afternoon? Imagine creeping along at five inches an hour. Imagine more cars on the road than in the Disney World parking lot. Imagine traffic accidents and hit-and-runs. Imagine Grand Theft Auto: The Commuter School District. That will be game day in Temple Terrace.

RJS has been a great home for the Bulls since 1998, though it’s not perfect.

The Glazers don’t share the “New Sombrero†as much with the Bulls as the Rooneys  the family behind the Steelers  do with the Panthers. Ironically, both stadiums can house 65,000 fans, and both are adorned primarily with the colors of their NFL counterparts  but the Panthers probably still feel more at home.

But it’s what the Bulls use to pull home the recruits, and it works. Players such as Carlton Hill and Andre Hall wanted to play in RJS instead of the Orange Bowl or Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.

The city of Tampa coughed up $168.5 million, and the Bulls and Bucs are putting it to good use. This wise investment all the citizens voted for is paying dividends by hosting another Super Bowl in 2009 after having put on a better show in 2001 than Jacksonville did earlier this year.

What fans don’t realize is how good they have it to have these exalted facilities, which even NFL crews treat like a newborn.

If you were one of the few who took the ride down to the Orange Bowl, then you know how big of a dump it was, rain aside.

Besides, the Bulls have shown signs of promise this year. Their average attendance has risen to an all-time high of 40,616 per game in a stadium that gets pretty loud  a stadium that doesn’t have bleachers for seats, but chairs with armrests. And room to walk around. And easy access.

Consider yourselves lucky.

Get a new home

Moving on campus is key to shedding USF's commuter-school label.

by Tony Marquis

October 26, 2005

Let’s get it started.

For the sake of the fans, it’s time to get the ball rolling on the construction of an on-campus stadium.

From my colleague next to me, you’ll hear a lot about Pittsburgh and how great they are doing with an off-campus stadium.

But this isn’t Pittsburgh.

Schools such as Pittsburgh don’t have much choice in where their games are played. They are located in big cities with little available real estate. But not USF in Temple Terrace: With a little nudging, a stadium could fit just about anywhere. Purchasing and leveling the collective crud-market that is University Mall would present the most ideal location for a possible stadium.

But why are we arguing about this?

Because USF has a glaring problem: It’s missing an identity.

An on-campus stadium would go a long way in giving the University its own identity and help it get rid of the commuter-school label I’m sure few are proud of.

If you can name one “Research One†commuter school then you’re way ahead of me. The key to widespread support of a school is in the school’s alumni, and with the exception of a few thousand die-hards, that support is less than impressive. An on-campus stadium shows a commitment from the school toward building a legitimate bond with the community and current and former students.

I challenge you to name one Top 25 college football program that plays its home games in a professional football stadium. As wonderful as it sounds to play in beautiful Raymond James Stadium, it just doesn’t fit the blueprint of college football success. I’m sure there are other factors, but Boise State is a perfect example of what a unique on-campus stadium can do for a program. Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium, University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, “The Swamp,†and Michigan’s stadium, “The Big House,†are examples of how popular stadiums can become by themselves.

Unlike those college football landmarks, USF will always come second in their stadium. The Tampa Sports Authority will always be concerned with the Bucs before the Bulls. That’s why security tackles fans, only about three USF banners go up on game day, and the attempt to place Bulls’ midfield logo over the Bucs flag is a weak attempt at spirit. Even everyone’s favorite pirate ship makes absolutely no sense to outside observers.

An on-campus stadium would provide some help to area businesses as well. There is no bigger advertising goof than “This is Bulls Country.†It’s always tough to navigate the hoards of Bulls fans and students at University-area bars and restaurants. But seriously, I’m sure the Jerk Hut, Tia’s and Perkins would appreciate nothing more than the influx of 30,000 people that a game would provide.

It’s time to make a change for the better: It’s time to get the funds. I know USF has got a few extra dollars, because every month a new building goes up on campus, and every year more than 7,000 new students enroll at USF. Even if the city of Tampa has to pay a nickel more for their bananas, then so be it. Get the money so USF can stop being a parking lot with classes and make their way to becoming a university with top-tier athletics and academics. Now for my next argument: The virtues of an on-campus Taco Bell.

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One thing that irks me about the debate. Is that a community ie Tampa, can build a stadium for a privately owned franchise, but can't build (or at least help with) a stadium for a PUBLIC University. I know not everyone would use it, but more people would have access to tickets for a Bulls game than they do for a Bucs game. And to those that say it is a community stadium need to realize that the Bucs get a piece of EVERYTHING that goes on at RayJay.

I could be wrong, but I have heard before that no public money can go into athletic facilities.

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Guest Bullistic930
Tony Marquis, you are a GENIUS!

Before you go and get all high on Tony Marquis...just don't forget. He's the guy who said:

"I know what you’re saying: “If you love Penn State so much, why don’t you just transfer?â€Â

I can’t transfer. I’m stuck here. "


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Guest Justin Boza
Not a 100% sure...but I don't think USC plays on campus...I know Miami doesn't

USC plays LITERALLY across the street from campus, so its basically on campus.. miami doesnt play on campus, which is why you see student participation for football so weak.. kinda sad, but school spirit definitely lacks for a program of such rich tradition and 5 national titles, its a true testament of what 20 minutes of driving off campus can do to disconnect a university from its football team..

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I challenge you to name one Top 25 college football program that plays its home games in a professional football stadium.

USC (no, LA doesn't have a pro football team right now, but the stadium is a pro football stadium. okay, technically an Olympics facility).


So there's two. Or 1 1/2.

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I could be wrong, but I have heard before that no public money can go into athletic facilities.

No public money can go into any university athletic program at any time.

Public funds can be used to build athletic facilities that are owned by the public (Raymond James is owned by Hillsborough County).  The sales and use tax and the hotel bed tax can both be used to pay debt service on an athletic facility, pursuant to Florida law.

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