View Full Version : ODU's Football Plans Run Into An Obstacle

JMU Duke Dog
December 12th, 2005, 10:15 PM
ODU’s football plans run into an obstacle

The Virginian-Pilot
December 11, 2005

NORFOLK — Less than a week before a key deadline to push forward with a Division I-AA football team, officials from Old Dominion University and the city have yet to reach agreement on the acquisition of land ODU officials say they need for the project.

Last June, the school’s Board of Visitors voted unanimously to start football in 2009 based on three conditions: a consultant’s report showing sufficient community support, $8 million in donations and a deal to acquire city property for a football practice field and for women’s crew and softball facilities.

ODU would add women’s volleyball, crew and softball to remain in compliance with Title IX, a federal law that strives for gender equality.

The board agreed that a land deal and a positive consultant’s report must be in place by its meeting this Friday. ODU declined last week to release a copy of the consultant’s report.

The fundraising target must be met by June 2006. John R. Broderick , the university’s vice president for institutional advancement, declined Friday to say how much the university has raised.

Robert L. Fenning, ODU’s vice president for administration and finance, has negotiated for the land primarily with Assistant City Manager Stanley A. Stein.

“We would like to see Old Dominion have football,” Stein said. Yet, so far, the city has rejected all of ODU’s proposals, including, say sources who asked not to be identified, a request that the city turn over the newly opened Granby-Maury high school football stadium to the university.

That stadium was built on Powhatan Field, on the site of ODU’s former soccer practice field, after a controversial and protracted search for a site. Although ODU offered to pay for the stadium, city officials said they aren’t eager to search for another stadium site.

The problem for both ODU and the city is that the university is in the city’s densely populated west side, where there is little vacant land and few recreational fields for residents.

City officials say the university appears likely to build a crew facility at Lakewood Park. Finding 3 or 4 acres for a football practice field and softball field won’t be as easy, city and school officials acknowledge.

Fenning said that he and ODU President Roseann Runte have studied the latest proposal from the city and that they expect to reply by early this week .

“We’re at the point where we’re trading suggestions and ideas back and forth,” Fenning said Friday . “Obviously, next Friday is not that far away, but I know we expect by sometime next week to have reached some sort of consensus, or be mostly there.”

Fenning declined to discuss specifics but said, “We’re focusing a lot of time on the Powhatan Field area.”

Mayor Paul D. Fraim, who lives in Larchmont, a mile from ODU’s campus, said he supports the university’s proposal to start football.

“I know it would be good for the university, and I think it would be good for the economy of Norfolk,” he said.

“It would be one more asset that improves the quality of life. I want and expect it to happen. We hope we can reach a favorable understanding with Old Dominion.”

The consultant’s report was done by PriceWaterhouse Coopers in Tampa, Fla.

The university received the report in November. The Virginian-Pilot requested a copy, but university officials declined to release it, citing a provision of the state Freedom of Information Act that allows presidents of public colleges to withhold information they classify as “working papers.”

Broderick said Runte thinks “the Board of Visitors is entitled to her views on this report first.”

Broderick said he expects it to be released to the board Friday.

James A. Hixon, rector of the board, said he has not seen the report. He added that the board likely will hear a progress report on football Friday but will not take a formal vote.

“If something comes up to cause us concern, we’ll have to examine it to see where we go,” he said.

Moody E. “Sonny” Stallings Jr., one of the board’s strongest football supporters, said he remains optimistic that the report and land negotiations will conclude successfully.

“It’s going to take cooperation from the city, which I have every indication we’re going to get,” he said.

Councilman Barclay C. Winn, who represents the ODU area, said he is in favor of Monarch football but is mindful of the needs of his constituents.

“It would be great if we could work together and dovetail their needs with ours,” he said, “but we can’t shortcut the recreational opportunities for our citizens to do it.”

Reach Harry Minium at (757)446-2371 or [email protected]

Reach Phil Walzer at (757)222-5105 or [email protected]


December 12th, 2005, 10:44 PM
:bawling: :( :( Damn

December 12th, 2005, 10:58 PM
How will they ever go I-A now!? :rolleyes:

December 13th, 2005, 12:35 AM
What's the problem with using Foreman Field (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=bluestone+ave+%26+longwood+dr,+norfolk,+va&ll=36.889146,-76.306057&spn=0.003880,0.009836&t=h&hl=en)?


December 13th, 2005, 06:22 AM
Attended three Oyster Bowl Games as a cadet (W&M. Citadel and Ga Southern). Some of the early games that I remember there was the VMI vs Va Tech Oyster Bowls. That was in the 80s. The best thing about Foreman field was it's 22K capacity (which we nearly filled for a couple of those games). They had rickety bleachers, artificial turf, bad restrooms, bad concessions and parking left something to be desired if I remember.

Having said all that it was a great game atmosphere and lots of ODU students attended. The area had enough to offer that when we played El Cid both schools brought their entire Corps of cadets. I think the stadium could be restored but as an engineer sometimes I can tell you restoration is more expensive than building new. That field is a terrible thing to waste.

DP '90

December 13th, 2005, 04:21 PM
They have the stadium, what they're looking for is PRACTICE facilities, and new facilities for women's sports they must offer to keep in check with Title IX.

Also, I'd love to play em down there. What a unique stadium!