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.

Sun Belt approves new scheduling format

Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference
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With an 11-member setup the Sun Belt Conference has played a 20-game conference schedule the last couple of years, which may be seen as a positive when it comes to determining the regular season champion (home-and-home between every team). But for a conference that spans from North Carolina (Appalachian State) to Texas (UT-Arlington, Texas State) travel was far from easy in that setup.

And with Coastal Carolina joining next season, it was clear that the league needed to do something with its scheduling.

Thursday the Sun Belt members approved an 18-game conference schedule, which will begin with the 2016-17 season when the league consists of 12 members. Included in the agreement is the assignment of travel partners (similar to setups in the Pac-12 and Ivy League), and teams playing no more than three consecutive conference games on the road.

Schools will also be guaranteed at least five weekend home games during conference play, and there will be no more weekends in which teams play conference games both home and away (thus cutting down on travel). Obviously with the addition of Coastal Carolina the Sun Belt needed to make some changes in their scheduling, and this week the conference made the moves they needed to make.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.