Report: Proposed renovations to Indiana’s Assembly Hall

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Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. opened in 1971 and holds five national championship banners as well as serving as a winter home for 17,472 Hoosier fans each season.

It’s one of the most iconic venues in all of college basketball, but the university is looking to improve the condition of its longtime arena, according to an extensive report from Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star.

On Sunday morning, Osterman posted proposed plans to renovate Assembly Hall, which could cost up to $30-$40 million.

“Our planning … is looking at preserving Assembly Hall, breathing life into that building,” IU athletic director Fred Glass told the Star. “I think Hoosier fans will be really excited about our plans. They’re ambitious.”

According to Osterman changes to Assembly Hall would include:

• Luxury seating above the bleachers behind the south basket.

• A “modern jumbotron” that would “dramatically (improve) the fan experience for our balcony ticketholders.”

• The south lobby becoming “a grand new entryway.”

• Escalators replacing some ramps.

• Remodeled restrooms and concession stands, and additional restrooms.

Besides the tradition of IU basketball, part of what makes Assembly Hall unique is the arena’s seating. There isn’t circular bowl seating, and the documents Osterman and the Star obtained referenced the competitive advantages the building has over opponents.

Osterman reported that in 2007, though there were no specific plans for a replacement, the board of trustees discussed ideas for more athletic offices, a practice facility, suites and better views for spectators. Since then, IU has added the Cook Hall practice facility, and some athletic offices have been moved to the football stadium. Under Glass, the focus has been more on upgrading Assembly Hall, and less on constructing a new home.

Glass said the cost of a new arena would be $200 to $300 million. Even with fatter TV revenues footing the bill for many new investments, Indiana remains one of the Big Ten’s most moderately funded athletic departments.

The University’s Policy on Institutional Naming forbids any sort of corporate naming, so financing a new stadium that way would require the board reversing the policy.

To read the full plans, which also covers the history of the revered arena, here is the link once again.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?