Oliver Purnell

DePaul’s new arena makes even less sense than we originally thought


When plans to build a new arena for DePaul using $100 million of taxpayer money were first announced a couple of weeks ago, the universal reaction was, more or less, “WTF”?

Thanks to some digging done by Danny Ecker of ChicagoBusiness.com, that plan makes even less sense.

To make a long story short, DePaul is using a trick that most sports teams have mastered: they don’t count attendance as the number of people that walk in the door. Their attendance figures are the number of tickets sold. So while an average of about 2,600 fans actually made it into DePaul’s home games last season, the program bases their attendance numbers on the fact that nearly 8,000 tickets were paid for per home game last season.

Here’s the catch: a number of those purchased tickets that remained empty were paid for by the school. They buy seats for students that want to pay for a ticket for the season, and since those tickets are “purchased”, it doesn’t matter whether students actually buy them off of the school.

The reason that the city is funding DePaul’s new arena is that they are trying to drive some money into the economy of the near South Side, the neighborhood where the arena will be built. But the figures are based 8,000 people descending upon the area around 20 times a year to watch DePaul play, when, in fact, it will be a third of that so long as DePaul basketball remains atrocious — they’ve gone 7-83 in the Big East the last five years, an accomplishment that is probably more difficult than going 83-7 in that span.

And there’s no indication of DePaul’s basketball program being on the uptick.

It’s not like anyone in the city of Chicago, a pro sports town through and through, cares about the Blue Demons.

The biggest issue, as Andy Glockner so tactfully points out, is that $100 million of taxpayer money in a city that’s broke is being spent on this arena:

The much more curious part of this, though, is Chicago is under massive budget pressure. The city recently decided to close 50 public schools in an effort to battle dwindling enrollment. That decision is leaving many buildings at far lower than capacity and is designed to cut costs, as Chicago Public Schools are currently facing a $1 billion (yes, that’s with a B) operating deficit for this fiscal year. And that’s without considering a teachers’ union claim that refurbishing the existing schools will cost almost the same as what the city claims it will save through the closings.

Someone smarter than me might be able to tell you why this arena makes sense.

The way I see it, the investigative reporters for the newspapers in Chicago just found themselves a new target.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Louisville’s Rick Pitino on allegations: ‘We will get through this’

Rick Pitino
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino remains defiant that his program will survive the allegations in a book by an escort alleging that former Cardinals staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Pitino said Tuesday that the Cardinals “will get through this the right way.”

The coach told a packed room at a tipoff luncheon that he understands the motivation behind Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” but questions the need for the alleged activities given the talent his program has produced.

Pitino added, “We will find out the truth, whatever it may be, and those responsible will pay the price.”

Georgia Tech lands Class of 2016 guard

Brian Gregory
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Georgia Tech picked up its third Class of 2016 commitment on Tuesday as the Yellow Jackets landed a pledged from three-star guard Josh Okogie.

The 6-foot-4 guard is considered the No. 143 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016 rankings and Okogie played with a very talented Team CP3 in the Nike EYBL. In 22 games this spring and summer, Okogie averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Okogie joins three-star wing Christian Matthews and four-star big man Romello White in head coach Brian Gregory’s Class of 2016 at Georgia Tech. The group is definitely a solid influx of talent with some coming from successful grassroots programs.