As a lifelong DePaul Blue Demons fan, watching this team play terrible basketball in front of microscopic crowds has become the norm. However, some interesting events transpired yesterday that are starting to give fans some hope for the program’s future.
For those of you that may now know, DePaul plays at the AllState Arena just west of the city right near O’Hare Airport. While the team has played in the arena for over 30 years, it really doesn’t give DePaul a homecourt advantage. In fact, it probably hurts recruiting due to its poor location both geographically and to the campus. It has probably been as much of a hindrance to this program as anything.
DePaul is now expressing interest in building its own arena closer to the campus. There’s a plot of land close to McCormick Place (right by Soldier Field on Chicago’s lakefront) that DePaul has its eye on. Yesterday, rumors began to surface that the United Center owners (Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf and Chicago Blackhawks Rocky Wirtz) have offered DePaul ten years of rent free access to the facility and will allow DePaul to call the arena home by allowing the school to hang its banners and customize the floor. While this seems like a generous offer, there’s a selfish motive as well. If DePaul builds the right type of arena closer to downtown Chicago, it will draw concerts and other events away from the United Center.
All I know is that I am finally starting to see some potential life for this program. If DePaul is able to either build the right type of facility or play in the United Center, it gives them credibility with recruits and fans. Instead of your student body having to schlep out to Rosemont to see the team play in a boring and out-of-date arena (as well as boring recruits to tears), they’ll either play in one the NBA‘s finest facilities or build something to meet their needs. I may have to take back my criticisms of the athletic director if this all works itself out. But I am not holding my breath either. Jean Lenti-Ponsetto has been known to screw up a cup of coffee.
This is an excellent example of a Rant My Life type moment. If you have thoughts on this or other events, Hashtag #RML with your thoughts.