Tulane should put stadium site to better use
It was an emotionally charged meeting of the New Orleans City Council.
At that meeting, Tulane President Scott Cowen blasted the council for attempting to delay the university’s plans for a 30,000-seat, on-campus football stadium.
Cowen called the Interim Zoning District proposed by Councilwoman Susan Guidry “ad hoc zoning disguised as something else.”
The Council voted 4-2 in favor of the Zoning District. Mayor Mitch Landrieu has vowed to veto it, much to the delight of Tulane Stadium proponents.
Who knows what the next step is? Cowen has promised to meet with the citizens in the surrounding neighborhood who oppose the project.
What they likely will ask for is some sort of cap as to how many events the school plans to hold in the stadium. They know that you don’t invest millions of dollars in such a project for just six or seven on-campus football games.
I am not against the stadium. But I do think there are far more important projects that would benefit Tulane athletics.
A state-of-the-art football practice facility is badly needed. That facility should include the ability to practice indoors.
And, Fogelman Arena should be torn down, not renovated again. On the spot where Tulane wants to build the new football stadium, a 7,000-seat, state-of-the-art basketball arena would be a huge plus.
To stadium proponents who expressed outrage over the council vote, I would ask two questions:
Did you think it would be this easy to build a project of this size without forceful opposition? Remember, your peeps Uptown opposed the Wal-Mart near Jackson Avenue and Magazine Streets, and the Whole Foods at the Arabella Street old bus barn.
And, two, where are all of you on Saturday when Tulane plays in the Superdome? I go to a lot of games, and I don’t see a whole lot of you there.
You express outrage that anyone could oppose the stadium project, yet you are virtually silent when Tulane doesn’t go to a bowl for nine consecutive seasons. And, remember, more than half of the Football Bowl Subdivision played in a bowl game last season.
You go nuts over stadium opposition, yet I don’t hear any such outrage when the school misses the NCAA basketball tournament for the 17th consecutive season.
Where’s the passion for that very elusive thing – winning?
One good thing about this whole stadium controversy has already happened. The four council members who voted for the Zoning District have replaced LSU as the biggest enemies of Tulane athletics.
I have talked to many of my media colleagues. I don’t know of one that isn’t interested in seeing the university have athletic success.
The stadium, if built, is supposed to go a long way in rectifying the woes of the football program.
Maybe so. But all I know is, in the Superdome Tulane has defeated LSU and had its greatest season ever, 12-0, in 1998.
So, good luck with that battle with the neighborhood. And, remember, players and coaches, supported wholeheartedly by the university, are what wins games.