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Volume 24 No. 157


Construction crews "continue at a brisk pace working on the $143 million renovations" to TCU's 81-year-old Amon G. Carter Stadium, but it remains to be seen if the partially renovated facility will "be ready" for the football team's home opener on Sept. 17, according to Stefan Stevenson of the FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM. The entire project "remains on schedule for completion" before the first game of the '12 season. But with less than a month before this season's opener against Louisiana-Monroe, TCU AD Chris Del Conte said, “We have a long ways to go to get ready for that particular game.  We were probably a little overconfident in that we didn’t really take into consideration all the things that go with a live construction zone.” While progress has been made, “with the west-side upper deck erected and lighting rigs nearly complete, there is major work left to do." Seats on the west-side club level "need to be installed and the two new scoreboards have yet to materialize." Crews have been "installing large speakers on either side of the frame for the scoreboard atop the party deck on the north end zone," and the north end zone stands "will be nearly complete, including completed restrooms, except for fully functioning concessions.” TCU Associate AD for Operations Ross Bailey said, "We are very much a construction zone for 2011 ... I think more than any of us want to realize. It’s going to be a challenge.” Stevenson noted "part of the challenge is finding room for more than 100 portable toilets and four comfort stations with air conditioning for the west side, which will be without restrooms in 2011.” In addition, the temporary press box, “set for the middle level of suites on the west side stands, have a long way to go before they look ready for even a workable temporary setting.” Crews hope to have coaches boxes “ready with temporary walls and drywall ceilings so they’ll be afforded the necessary privacy.” The temporary media area "will likely be open-air this season with little infrastructure inside" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/17).

DUKES ENERGY: The AP's Hank Kurz Jr. notes a $62.5M renovation to Bridgeforth Stadium gives FCS program James Madison Univ. a "home field that resembles what a top college football program might have." The facility's capacity has increased “from about 15,700 to 25,000.” The visiting sideline “still has concrete stands,” but JMU AD Jeff Bourne said that the “next phase of upgrades could make that section look similar to the home side and increase capacity to about 40,000." Bourne said that a "shortage of restrooms also has been addressed on the new side, but parking could become a trickier proposition for the general public.” He “dispelled the notion the stadium’s expansion is a prelude to a move to the larger FBS" (AP, 8/18).

 In Toronto, Lance Hornby reports the NHL has approved a "new concave partition where the glass meets at the boards and the players' bench," and the structure "will be in place in all 30 arenas for the start" of the '11-12 season. NHL Senior Dir of Hockey Operations Kris King said, "We talked about beefed-up padding, but just felt that an actual deflection area through curved glass could allow a player to deflect off a surface rather than hit it solid." The new system is "getting its first experiment under game conditions this week at the league's research and development camp in Toronto" (TORONTO SUN, 8/18).

WESTERN CHANGES:'s Diamond Leung noted attendance figures for the Pac-12 conference basketball tournament "have plummeted since the Pac-10 voted to revive the event following a 12-year hiatus." Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said that he is "strongly considering moving it" from L.A.'s Staples Center. The conference "accepted formal proposals to host the event up until its deadline Friday, with Salt Lake City's EnergySolutions Arena and Seattle's KeyArena reportedly being a couple of the potential sites." Scott, who "hopes to make a decision by this fall," also said that the conference "had yet to rule out different models for the event, including using rotating sites annually and holding games on campus." Scott: "I really want a strong collegiate atmosphere around the basketball tournament. I don't want it to feel overly corporate. I want it to be well-attended and well-supported and there to be a great buzz around the event" (, 8/16).

PLAYING HARDBALL: A ST. PETERSBURG TIMES editorial states Mayor Bill Foster "is not negotiating with the Rays in good faith, and he is not treating the franchise with the respect worthy of a prominent business with a significant financial and civic footprint." The editorial: "The mayor is becoming increasingly isolated in his stubborn insistence that the Rays cannot look at potential stadium sites in Hillsborough County" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/18).

A PLACE TO CALL HOME: In L.A., Sam Farmer notes if the NFL returns to L.A., the "relocated team is more likely to call the Rose Bowl its temporary home than" the L.A. Coliseum, because a "battle has been brewing for years over control" of the stadium. The disagreement is over whether the "aging venue should be run by a nine-member commission representing the city, county and state, or by USC" (L.A. TIMES, 8/18).

WHAT'S IN A NAME? In Indiana, Arek Sarkissian II reports Tri-State Ford Dealers has inked a 10-year, $4.2M naming-rights deal for Evansville’s downtown arena, which will be renamed the Ford Center. VenuWorks Evansville Dir Scott Schoenike, whose company operates the arena, said that Ford "will have some signage inside the facility." The deal "now awaits approval from the Evansville Redevelopment Commission, which is scheduled to meet Sept. 7" (Evansville COURIER-PRESS, 8/18). The venue is home to Univ. of Evansville basketball and the CHL Evansville IceMen (THE DAILY).