IS IT TRUE December 30, 2013

Do I Strike Fear in You?
Do I Strike Fear in You?

IS IT TRUE that the focus of the local mainstream media and the power broker community seems to have shifted from the real problems of Evansville to the on the court successes of the University of Evansville Purple Aces basketball team?…that while the fortunes of the Aces can be seen as a proxy for the success of the local economy on first look, the reality of the situation is not what the easy analysis may imply?…Evansville as a city started a slow trickling decline in roughly 1960 and has lost population and average wages at a dribbling rate of roughly one half of one percent per year?…some cities have quick cataclysmic events that cause their population to leave and their wages to drift downward but that is not the case for Evansville?…Evansville has been going the way of the primitive medical technique of bleeding with leaches or the proverbial boiling of a frog on degree at a time?…the terrible effect of the drip-drip-drip way of melting away is that no one notices except for people who come back to visit every couple of years?…the pace of change is so slow that those who live it don’t even see it happening until years later when a friend of family member from afar points it out and asks “what the hell happened to ____?”…this until recently was not the way of the Aces?…in the science of correlation one would conclude that while the plight of the Aces and the City of Evansville are linked, the links are slight and even opposite for much of the time since 1960?

IS IT TRUE from the late 1950’s until the time that UE ascended to Division 1 basketball in 1977 the Purple Aces dominated their competition nationally while the City of Evansville and its job base slowly deteriorated?…one could have made a case during that period that UE’s on court successes were diametrically opposite of the City?…one may even make a case that UE basketball was the shining star of the City of Evansville on the national level perhaps helping to mask the early stages of the City’s deterioration?…to conclude that as the Aces go so goes Evansville is to deny the reality that the Aces were improving as the City was starting to slide downward?…even the “Night it Rained Tears” when the Aces team went down in a plane crash and stepping up the competition to Division 1 did not stop the upward rise of the Purple Aces?…just four years after the crash the Purple Aces played their way into the TOP 25 of the national rankings, secured a birth in the NCAA tournament, and hosted the opening rounds of the big dance at Roberts Stadium?…the attendance at Aces games at Roberts stayed above 10,000 and post season play was frequent well into the 1990’s in several upgraded conferences?…with the turn of the century and 911 things began to change?

IS IT TRUE with the departure of Coach Jim Crews and the new millennium time seems to have caught up with the Aces?…attendance started the slow downward spiral from a still healthy number of over 8,000 to today’s numbers of under 5,000 and it has been steady?…the downward spiral mirrored the on the court performance and seems to have stabilized in the 4500 range?…the move to the $127 Million Ford Center did nothing to reverse the spiral?…the off the court shenanigans during the pre-game and the halftime have not reversed the spiral?…one may conclude that the “pall” over Evansville finally caught up with the Aces after they defied it for 40 years?…since the year 2,000 the Aces and the City of Evansville seem to be on the same path?…one could conclude that the City of Evansville persevered for 40 years and finally linked the fate of the Aces to the fate of the City?

IS IT TRUE the antidote for the Aces need to improve seems to now have shifted from excellence on the court to bricks, mortar, and the kind of fun and games projects that has seduced elected officials and the power brokers of Evansville?…when pointing to things that will surely help the program now it is all about the Ford Center, a $4 Million practice facility, and fundraising by the athletic department?…the illusion of progress by building things and buying toys has finally been forced onto the Aces like blankets of smallpox were given to Native Americans to keep them warm?…this delusion is as they say on TV is “Koo-Koo-for Cocoa Puffs?”

IS IT TRUE we at the CCO agree that a series of 25 win seasons and a trip to the Final 4 like the two trips Butler made without a shiny new stadium may just put some pep in the step of the local economy?…while Butler was finding ways to pay a coach over $1 Million a year and attracting players like Shelvin Mack, UE was seduced by the sirens song of crony projects directed from the Civic Center?…a much lesser amount of money directed properly toward attracting 10 and only 10 national class players and coaches would have, could have, should have, and MAY SOMEDAY lead Evansville out of the land that time forgot?…it will take across the board leadership that is not fixated on forcing the solutions of the 1950’s onto the problems of today to make that happen?


  1. the city of evansville builds a new stadium and thinks the wilt chamberlains will magically appear…..if the administrators of evansville college truly believe brick and mortar was what the aces needed instead of human substance then their university is going the way of the city of evansville a corrupt bankrupt poverty laden good ole boys network…..300 dollar a month water bills that will really draw people to invest and live in vanderburgh county and support the aces……..yep build that stadium build that hotel and wonder why no one is left to pay the bills……..

    • I rarely say this, but I agree with you on this one, Tommy. Ethridge and Ellerbrook both need a “reality check.”

      • In the not too distant future, these local principles of the C&P, the “Clucks without a Clue” if you will, will be clucking,– “What Happened?”– when their rag ceases to exist. I wonder if they will ever realize , “Yesterday” is Gone. The C&P becomes less relevant (drip,drip,drip) everyday.

    • Heres one for ya,tommy, Hotels,tourists and trouble in paradise. san diego sea lion stench.

      Anchovies diet,whew,good thing they don’t load up on your local Bee slough frogs….

  2. This is a really good column from top to bottom. I find it to be nothing short of ironic that the people who caused this problem are the same ones now acting like they are going to be the saviors to fix it.

    First of all, UE has beaten Butler twice and Wichita State twice so this notion that fans aren’t showing up suddenly because the team isn’t winning is completely false as is the notion that brick and mortar is somehow something bad.

    When you move in as a cotenant in a facility designed with dimensions of the other tenant in mind, you move away from your campus’ neighborhood, make travel harder for students, make parking harder for the elderly who are your demographic specifically, AND you move right out of the middle of your season ticket base, you really shouldn’t be surprised that this would happen. Nobody wants to watch a game dominated by tarps and curtains. Especially when the facility doesn’t have the look and feel of the team’s home court (this is a classic fallacy with multi-purpose facilities that did in the cookie cutter stadiums from the 60s).

    What really gets me is now all of a sudden all of these boosters are raising funds for UE. The problem I have is that the people who are doing this have more money that I will ever see in ten lifetimes. With a simple shake of the pen, they could have gotten UE a mid-sized arena that would have housed their mens team, their womens team, and even their volleyball team would have a proper place to host tournaments instead of their practice facility. They would have been able to keep all the revenues from all their events to bolster their athletic dept.

    And these boosters STILL have the money to build UE this type of facility on a lot heading for nowhere.

    If Sioux Falls can round up a health company to construct and privately finance a pentagon facility that houses mid-sized events AND serves as an exercise facility for residents next to trails and other facilities, I don’t think it’s beyond the realm to ask some of the local power elitists to do the same. They could solve this problem while making literally every single person happy at the same time and address multiple issues/problems, but they never do and they never will. And that, is what ALWAYS does Evansville in.

    So no, it’s not the “brick and mortar” that’s the issue. Rather it’s where, how, and this brick and mortar is placed. UE’s marketing and athletic depts have been asleep at the wheel for quite some time. Never in the 35 year history of Aces Div I basketball years at Roberts did the Aces dip below 4,900 fans per game. That speaks for itself.

    • R&R states: “I find it to be nothing short of ironic that the people who caused this problem are the same ones now acting like they are going to be the saviors to fix it.”

      Sounds like the definition of politician/lawyer.

      • Yep. That’s not ironic, it’s the modus operandi of our leaders. Some call it the ‘Hegalian Dialectic’; it consists of a ‘problem-reaction-solution’ approach to getting what one wants. It goes like this: create a ‘problem’, point to it emphatically, wait for the predictable public reaction you helped create, then show up with the ‘solution’ which was the objective from the very start.

        This is the way politicians like the ones that run Evansville operate, and its the way complicit, crony media helps in the scam.

  3. I read the C&P article . . . and the notion advanced by Neil Ellerbrook– that the pall which lingers over this City is a result of the decline of the Aces basketball program– is a hot, steaming pasture biscuit. What rubbish.

  4. I read that article too, and a few comments:

    1) How could that article not even touch on USI basketball/ what a bias ! ?

    2) The article did mention–lightly–the competing ‘entertainment’ from cable TV, the Internet, etc. which did not exist in the 1960’s ‘glory days’ of the Aces. That is not a small portion of the reason–it’s most of the reason– why the attendance is down;

    3) As a correlation to # 2–‘pride in your hometown team’ is not as meaningful as it once was. You can live in EVV and proclaim UCLA to be ‘your team’, and watch a lot of their games and keep up with them. Why drive downtown and spend a lot of money to watch an inferior product, when you can watch a better product for free online ?;

    4) Let’s face it: a large percentage of Aces fans are elderly people. I do believe this is where the ‘park on the street’ bit is biting the Aces in the butt. Even having a lot of Sunday afternoon games (I assume to accommodate older fans) doesn’t seem to tilt the scale; and

    5) I think UE needs to decide what they want to be when they grow up. The Butler success was the result of one great coach, who could recruit and motivate scholar-athletes (notice the order). Butler may NEVER replicate those two Final 4 appearances again. If UE doesn’t get ‘the guy’ they may never get there once. I have not yet seen any NBA teams offer Marty Simmons a gig.

  5. The “Glory Days” of Aces basketball did something to mask the beginning of a long downhill slide for Evansville. My father and most of his friends held season tickets to the games and sported their red shirts to all of the games at home, and many on the road.
    It was perfectly socially acceptable for me, a “tween” and teen aged girl to be seen at those games in the company of my parents. You didn’t go anyplace else with the “folks”, but Aces games were the exception. Everybody, factory workers and managment, professionals, and students rallied behind the Aces. But the time came when the factories began to leave, and many of the Aces boosters went with them. The sea of red shirts diminished with the prosperity of the city.
    Even if this became a “boomtown”, I don’t think we are going to see a resurgence of Aces basketball. For one thing, we now have two Universities. For another, people’s interests have moved on. UE students don’t care, so why should the general public?
    I, for one, am sick and tired of watching Evansville try to return to its past. I would like for us to look to a prosperous future. We need to stop trying to imitate other cities’ successes, embrace who we are, and move into the future. Innovate don’t imitate, Evansville!

    • A couple of nights ago I saw a squad of Irish Wolfhounds frolicking on the Great Lawn in UE basketball costumes. It was something to see.

      They might be the salvation of this city if given a chance to run. A structured offense is not to their liking. One was actually dunking a Spalding Milkbone between his frequent bathroom breaks. Three had already turned down lucrative professional Frisbee contracts.

      The CP columns linking UE basketball to our city’s fortunes were mildly embarrassing to read. Weak deflection attempts often have an effect very different from what they were devised for. If I want to be reminded of UE basketball’s ‘glory days’ I have two pieces of the floor they did much of their winning on, complete with purple lane striping. Ho ho ho.

      • Bandana: You ought to Title the comment Contemplations: “Movements” at the Great Lawn.* Could be some funding there. add some retrievers, and a couple a lame ducks, might go viral, got video? 😉

      • Were the shirts the ones with sleeves? That got a lot of coverage a week or so ago. “To sleeve or not to sleeve, that is the question….”.

        • Some wore them, some didn’t. The big dog, the one called Sloan, barkedicted that those wearing the less constricting sleeveless style would also have to wear one of those long colorful robes the Aces wore when they could play. That accounts for several of them looking like colorful monks as they prosecuted their right to chant, dunk and gambol freely.

          The video is lousy. The green tint of the night vision equipment skewed everything. A buddy had some thermal imaging equipment along that did better but zeroed in on some pure nastiness by those hounds. That video is unfortunately unfit for posting and if released could cost some of those athletes a trip to doggie divorce court.

          • Does anybody else remember “Buster & Ed’s Dairy Queen?” That was back in the days before the NCAA got so picky.

          • Heck Bandana, I held out on ya,try orbital science next time,for improved subject clerity.
            Zero in on the stuff left behind,run the finite element background photo/gas chromatic scales on the stuff. That for timing and breed specified biological trace DNA structuring and background breakdowns.

            They say, Orbital science can projet some useful imagining of this stuff from orbit in the expanding studies involved with global climate change and those said before mentioned effects of…
            There are compared analogies out there that state what we actually see in the IR spectrographic range is like looking at a dime sized spot,on the road between New York city and Los Angeles.

            “pro re nata”

            (“in the circumstances,or as circumstance arises.”)

            “qui tacet, consentire videtur”

            (“he who is silent, is taken to agree”.)

          • Elky,
            I had many butter pecan ice cream cones from there. It was in that little strip shopping area on Division on the southwest side of Weinbach, the best I remember. By what was then East Side park. Either Briley or Zausch were usually working and would not skimp on the dip.

            They stuck a brass marker in the basketball floor to indicate where Buster Briley made a further-than-half-court shot during the waning moments of a game. The shot was famous around here. When they sold the floor off piece by piece in ’82 I think that square either brought a premium price or was already spoken for, probably both.

            The Indiana State Police crime lab has agreed to release one of their gas chromatographers for use in analyzing the scat that team occupying the Great Lawn is leaving behind. Won’t hurt to know what they’re eating and if it’s on Kiplee’s menu. Gotta find a willing country with a viable space program to help out. The NSA might be interested in some good press for a change but they are hard to approach.

          • Strawberry Sundaes were my favorite. You’re right about where it was.
            One of my best friends’ grandpa owned the Social Bar, in Rosedale. We’d go get money from him for ice cream and eat it in the park.

          • 🙂 Bandana: Maybe one of those mini American countrielettes they are talking about on the other story thread here,might see fit to pick that up.
            Food supply chain logistical developments! And ,all that stuff. Might be a worthwhile study for review for the market analysis per social,economic and ethnic footprinting relative to that silly projection of those said divided regionals.

  6. Looks like we have U of E sports snob at the Courier and Press. Bad public relations move by Courier and Press Editor to single U of E basketball out rumbling article.

    We indeed have another great University named USI and deserves consideration. Reality check gentlemen. U of E only won National Basketball titles when they played Division 11. So get off your high horse.

    Oh, didn’t USI win National titles in baseball and basketball, so why din’t you address that? These championships should also had a positive impact on this community.

    Finally, doesn’t U of E have other sports such as swimming, soccer, golf, cross county, volley ball and ect. USI also has similar sport offerings.

    This is why the City County Observer is giving the Courier and Press a run for their money. Bias, one sided and snobbery reporting.

    • USI took themselves out of the picture when they named the school and left the name of Evansville out. Ask anyone who did not go there or does not live here where USI is and you will get a blank stare. Outside of about a 50 mile radius of Evansville no one even knows that USI stands for the University of Southern Indiana. If you tell them what it stands for and ask them what city it is in they are still speechless.

      Comparing USI to UE in athletics or academics is like comparing the Glenwood Leadership Academy (7 straight Fs) to Scott Elementary (always an A) or Bosse to Signature School. They are as different as daylight and dark. Of course USI has plenty of new buildings to bolster their 15% graduation rate but much to our surprise those bricks didn’t exactly bring in any budding Rhodes Scholars either.

      USI is at best a legend in its own mind. UE is THE University of EVANSVILLE.

      • USI had higher accreditations in business than UE( fact) But more importantly what moron would spend 40-50 k a year at ue to major in education and make 50k when they can spend 30 total at usi? Also how’s that great nursing program at UE? Is it true not long ago the pass rate for ue grads was so low they almost lost state charter?

    • People that get their feathers ruffled and try to compare USI to the UE basketball program always look silly. A few facts Ellen…

      UE’s FIVE National Championships were technically D-2, but it was considered the College Division back then. Most of the schools that were in the College Division back then are D-1 Mid Majors. Heck, most of the current MVC was in the college division. Not an apples to apples comparison by any means.

      It has nothing to do with snobbery. The Aces have had a much larger impact on the community at large over the last 50 years than the USI basketball program. I’m not an USI basher, I have spent quite a bit of money on kids tuition at USI, never had one at UE.

      If you want to compare the two, I would suggest you work on getting USI into D-1 like most of the GLVC has already done and quit whining about the Aces.

      • True USI needs to move up. D2 is much weaker than even 5 yrs ago. Your trading North Dakota and Northern Kentucky for mckendree and Martin Methodist.

      • i worked with a Big Aces fan and he always insisted their Championships we big News accross the country,—funny thing though the years that the Aces did not appear post seasons,–he didn’t have a clue as to who won the Championship. Fame is fleeting it seems.

        PS. Just sticking the Name Evansville on some business,
        ( Education at this level is a business isn’t it?) does not mean it’s Citizens Own it, no more than they do any other business in the yellow pages that says Evansville “blank” “blank”. I believe the Methodist Church is the owner of UE.

  7. You have a winning Division 1 team when you make the NCAA tournament and get to the second round or farther. If you don’t do that, you are a second rate team and will have second rate attendance.

    University of Evansville is too small to compete in today’s Division 1 with any authority. There are a handful of small schools who do OK, but it’s a very rare thing and hard to hold onto.

    Nobody expected the Aces to draw larger crowds in the Ford Center unless they become a basketball power. That is something the Aces have to do, not the city.

    • I think your conclusion of the city unable to “fix” this problem is incorrect. Let me don my progressive/liberal hat. You see government at any level can fix things just like the ACA will fix all our medical affordability and accessibility woes.

      So clearly the answer here is simple. Evansville needs to fill the coffers of the University with more taxpayer money. Similar to the ACA adding taxes to medical devices and services this tax will apply to any and all sports related items and services sold. The inclusiveness of all sports items is inmaterial as a blank tax is needed here to poison the decades use of leaches.

      Just to make sure the maximum monies are collected the tax will apply to gross sales not net thus ensuring those mean evil greedy business people pay their just dues. BTW applying it to gross sales is totally inline with the ACA so no one can moan about it, it is after all been deemed a constitutional tax law.

      Just to be fair and not single out business owners, an individual tax along the lines of a 10% mill tax will do and it can be called; “Prevent Evansville Downslide During Lean Economic Stress” ala PEDDLES.

  8. UE turned down Bruce Pearl, mike Dunlap, and Ray Harper( twice). Nobody cares that Simmons was their best player 27 yrs ago except the age 70 + fans. They are dwindling and younger fans don’t want to watch big men set picks for 30 seconds for Marty’s flavor of the year to shoot.

    • Bruce Pearl burnt ALOT of bridges in this town. Trust me, there is alot more than winning basketball games. There are very good reasons he isn’t coaching anymore.

      I’m not a Simmons fanatic by no means, and honestly, I am not sure he was the right choice. Butler got lucky with Stevens, he wasn’t any more proven than Marty, and was making peanuts before the final four runs. Wichita State on the other hand, got tired of stinking, got the boosters and money together, made a good hire and locked him in with BCS money. But big coaches salaries don’t always work either, and can sink a program for years such as SIU and Chris Lowery.

      Regardless, there is no denying we should all support and wish the best for our only D-1 basketball team. Evansville needs the Aces and the Aces need Evansville.

      • UE is stuck in the past and smug. Simmons could go 0-30 and they wouldn’t fire him.
        He couldn’t lead them to the NCAA as a player and he sure isn’t as coach. In fact teams get better after he off the team. IU wins title , UE gets only NCAA win in history.

        Also that late 90,s radio spot for UE basketball that had the voice say ” still the only D1 team in town” alienated more fans than they realized.

        Also every year with UE it’s ” were young” or ” wait until next year” full of excuses. The young excuse would work if Marty had multiple players whose stock unexpectedly rose and were early entry nba Lotto picks. Leaving him bare due to unforeseen circumstances.

        • Also if USI decides to go D1, ue is done. The student and alumni base would be more excited about the bb than when pearl was getting 10 thousand at Roberts vs Wesleyan. Currently no one cares about usi vs no name sisters of the poor. As d2 has weakened since many even former recent powers have moved up like not
          North Dakota, Florida Gulf coast, and Northern Kentucky.

  9. We were promised by Jonathan Weinzippy’s C&P sycophant posse that the construction of the Farce Center downtown would by itself raise the attendance. That doesn’t appear to be working out, except for the Dumbella patronage shills who are on its payroll.

    One of the problems that UE and other schools need to consider is whether the sideshows are driving people away. There isn’t any reason for a regular game to take more than 90 minutes. The interminable time-outs (with an extra-long “official time-out” guaranteed about every four minutes, regardless of whether the game is actually being televised or not), model car races, idiotic “kiss cam,” etc. wreck the flow of the game.

  10. In regards to the picture of Ace Purple with the comment “Do I strike fear in you?” The answer is a big fat NO. The political correct mentality that brought the more softer Ace Purple a couple of years ago was moronic and should be reversed immediately.

    The new Ace Purple is a pansy. What’s next, turning the Louisville Cardinal into Big Bird?

  11. JCI-Scholar: The reason for the decline of this City is poor governance (power grabbing/self-interested pols). Only a fool would believe that UE sports have anything to do with Evansville’s declining state of affairs.

    Howler: Bingo re: the Fraud Center and JW’s pledge that not only would the UE attendance go up, the Fraud Center would be a catalyst for economic development (one additional watering hole after 2 years). Bingo # 2 re: the distractions at an Aces game (attended in person). All of those chickenshit promotions with kids and the video board–PUH LEEZ give it a rest. Just as the Otters games have been ruined by all of the ‘fan experience’ crap, so too the Aces games. SIGHHHHHHHHH.

  12. Anybody who appreciates irony needs to check out the C&P site for a second. The state news they are reporting is hysterically funny, in a perverse sort of way.
    First, there is the story that the FAA had turned Indiana down as a drone testing site. That is followed by the story of the man who is being treated at Johnson Memorial hospital, after having his penis cut by a box-knife wielding woman. Right after that is the story of a couple in Indy whose house was just hit by a car – for the 11th time in 30 years. They haven’t MOVED, they’ve stayed there. No wonder we don’t qualify as a drone-testing site.
    Indiana is becoming a bawdy joke!
    Sorry to CCO for citing the “non-competition”, but I just wanted to share the joke.

    • You are forgiven. The Johnson County, Johnson severing for treatment at the Johnson Memorial Hospital is priceless. The only thing better that could be revealed would be if the victim’s name was Dick Johnson. Who needs drones with a box cutter army of trailer dwellers just waiting for an opportunity to do some slashing.

      • …who needs birth control with that one woman bladed militia ready to smoke-n-snip…?

        Is that a replica of the Washington Monument on the grassy knoll in front of Johnson Memorial? Or is it just a Johnson Memorial?

      • I was thinking; Les Dick.

        But I’m not going to argue with the editor, or tommihomo.

  13. Evansville had a certain audience that continues to die off. The old corporate sponsors don’t pony up because they have sold or closed, and the remainng one don’t have enough UE alums in the decision making chair to drive the sale of season tickets by underlingings eager to impress and use the Purple Aces room as a place to be seen; many of those in the decision chairs have no real ties or loyalty to UE and don’t see the point in supporting the Purplen Aces club to get tickets to a show that doesn’t make the NCAA torunament.

    The way for UE baksetball to put butts in the seats is to allow joe the plumer to buy season tickets without joining the Purple Aces club. The type of marketing used now works if you have a large alum base or have a strong team that is viewed as the community’s pride and joy. That isn’t the case for UE today. Tie general admissions to free cokes and hotdogs, whatever, to make it seem to be a value, given your demographics.

    On the other hand, we have a mascot that looks like a pimp. Ace Purple needs to pimp slap some of the leaders of our corporate community to bring him some dead presidents.

    • cdad,

      Having read the above posts, the answer seems to be that tickets should be sold for each Half of a game.

      In the 1st Half, make it all about the basketball itself.
      Balls to the wall, may the best men win. No videos or kid stuff. At the end of the Half, I will leave to go down a few tasty ales at the city’s finest speakeasy.

      In the 2nd Half, make it the ‘fan experience’ for the youngsters. Also, lots of timeouts. That way, the young men can catch their breath–we seem to run out of steam in the 2nd Half most games.

      Get the old dogs like me home early, and open up parking spots for those coming for only the 2nd Half. Also, cut ticket prices in 1/2-becomes more affordable and maybe sell more tickets this way.

      Hey, we need REVOLUTION, not EVOLUTION !!

      • I know what you said is tongue in cheek, but that type of thinking is what is needed. Put out a quality baketball produc, wiith proper marketing and pricing, and the problem solved. Easier said than done.

  14. I’m getting conflicting messages from both the cco and cup on this. We got ethridge & co telling us that we can go back to the good ole days of UE ball despite taking the other side on this issue this whole time until now. Then we got the cco saying today’s predicament has nothing to do with bad government but then then says the brick and mortar decisions made by the city proved to be bad ones. I’m not following either side here.

    The truth is, is that this current mess is indeed related to bad government. Video games and TVs have been around forever, the icemen are doing great, the ford center is doing great, and the otters just led their league in attendance.

    Only the aces and the city’s mid sized sports events are struggling and its bc groups like the ecvb, the recent two mayors, the sports corp, UE ath dept, and six members of the city council didn’t make the correct decisions like the city did in 1990. That’s why these two entities are struggling. Nothing more nothing less.

    • I really don’t see the significance of the Aces’ following. We have a dying city on our hands. Basketball enthusiasm is about as important as as giving the hand on a severed arm a manicure. (Note: I left the Johnson incident alone, here. I could have made a much more colorful comparison, but passed in the interest of good taste.)

      • Like UE bball, the city dying is a direct result in bad decisions allowing sprawl to shift the population from the city to the county. Both are very much symptoms of bad government not the cause of it.

        • The city is dying simply because they have a 1950’s noose around the city limits. Nearly all of the housing stock built in this area since 1960 has been in the county or Ohio township in Warrick.

          How would city government function if we could elect residents from those two areas? That’s where the newcomers and fresh ideas are moving to. IMO,, that is the biggest benefit of a consolidation plan.

          • A 1950’s noose? They’ve expanded to the other side of I-164. And how is shifting the population from the city to the county and then annexing or merging with it in any way, shape, or form beneficial? It’s the very reason why the city infrastructure has deteriorated.

    • R/R,

      IMO, the city made a horrible decision in 1990. The BOTCHED rehab job on Roberts was extremely shortsighted and a perfect example of why McDonothing and his father were the two worst mayors in this city’s history. Political cronies who had ZERO ability to foster vision. Let’s block Main Street and pour millions into a stadium renovation that leaves it useless for anything but basketball.

      If they had simply planned a little better, went up with it like Ft. Wayne did, instead of digging into a lake, and left it multi-purpose so you could play hockey, indoor football, would still be going to Boeke and the Lloyd for events. Simply, you should blame only McDonald that your beloved stadium is a grass lot.

      • McDonald had nothing to do with the razing of Roberts Stadium. The above entities I listed did and should take full blame for tearing down a building that didn’t need to be torn down.

        And besides, it was Vandeveer, not McDonald that started the renovation plan. Initially he proposed a 15,000 seat dome to be located along the river by where Tropicana now stands but later backed off when others said they preferred Roberts, most notably Arad McCutchan.

        The city spent a mere $16 million to renovate it. The pumps were put in correctly and had no design flaws whatsoever. And when they began to wear out, Peyronnin came in and fixed them in 2005. The only time you will have ever seen water on the floor was when there was a mysterious bust just a few days before the first mayoral debate when somehow someway the C&P was notified and then allowed into the building for filming. Of course, the repair was $3k, a mere drop in the bucket to a $773,000 demo and multimillion dollar dog park project.

        If they would have went up they would have had to have ripped the entire roof off the building which would have basically been demolishing and rebuilding from the ground up. This would have completely destroyed the stadium’s image and would have been pointless. And not to mention, widening the floor for hockey dimensions would have cost $40 million itself.

        The city made the right decision in constructing a new arena downtown. It has maintained premier concerts while opening the door for more. It has brought minor league hockey to town and proved minor league sports can work here. Although it’s in a terrible location, it still has the potential to be the start of something big (i.e the 01 master plan).

        The Aces on the other hand had no business leaving Roberts. The building was fine and would have served many of their needs as well as many city needs such as Div II tournaments that look horrendous in the FC. They screwed up, the city and all it’s tag alongs screwed up, and that’s about all there is to this story.

        • The floor was already wide enough for hockey, it was the genius plan of digging down that took that away. How can you argue that spending any amount of money and taking away the “multi” part out of “multi-purpose” makes any sense?

          You act is if the Aces had any choice in the matter. There is no way the city was going to build a new arena, and allow one of the primary tenants to not come. That makes little sense from the city standpoint. Even if the city would have been willing to sell Roberts to UE, I don’t see how they could have afforded to acquire, repair and maintain such a facility. That money is better spent on improving the athletic product.

          We can’t support two 10K seat arenas and making Roberts a mid size venue would not have served UE. As the C&P article reminds us, they have a long history of drawing large crowds, and need to find a way to getting those type of crowds back. They don’t have the alumni base to survive at D-1 playing in front of 3K or less.

          Like I said, it doesn’t matter, UE never had a choice in the matter, so blaming them for the demise of Roberts is pointless.

          • Raising the floor back to pre 90s levels would not have been legal dimensions for hockey, and thus negating the idea of the two facilities being similiar or the belief that the Icemen could somehow someway use Roberts as leverage against the new arena. Indoor football dimensions were just barely going to fit in as is, probably would have needed a variance to go with it.

            “There is no way the city was going to build a new arena, and allow one of the primary tenants to not come. That makes little sense from the city standpoint”

            Yea it’s not like this same exact scenario didn’t just happen in Wichita, and that team of course never made it to the FF. Not to mention Nova has been doing it for quite some time as well. Losing UE, minus the bigger games such as IU, UNC, etc would benefit the FC not hurt it.

            “Even if the city would have been willing to sell Roberts to UE, I don’t see how they could have afforded to acquire, repair and maintain such a facility. That money is better spent on improving the athletic product.”

            The renovation costs were $4-4.5 mil. They literally just rounded up $3.3 mil for a plain jane practice facility. And this goes back to my point about the boosters chipping in peanuts despite being loaded with cash.

            As it stands, the Aces are down roughly 700 fans a game. At $10 a ticket (plus a buck for parking), that equates to a loss of $7,000 a game or $140,000 over a 20 year season. That’s before you even factor in the fact that since UE leases, not owns, they have to share in arena revenue and the loss of concession stand revenue.

            These boosters are shelling out $1 million over 5 years I believe- 60% of that is basically going to be negated by this venue switch.

            “We can’t support two 10K seat arenas and making Roberts a mid size venue would not have served UE”

            It could not have hosted men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball games/tournaments, and accrued additional revenue through other mid-sized events? What venue does the city currently have large enough to host large trade shows and is affordable for these events?

            “As the C&P article reminds us, they have a long history of drawing large crowds, and need to find a way to getting those type of crowds back. They don’t have the alumni base to survive at D-1 playing in front of 3K or less.”

            Raising the floor back to the pre-90 level ($400,000 to $500,000) would have lowered capacity down to only 8-9k. Demolishing the precast concrete above street level ($85k) to make the concourses wide enough for trade shows would have brought it down to roughly 5,000 seats depending on how the lower bowl would have been reconfigured.

            If that decision was made, the high risers that sat in the lower part of the bowl would have been flexed to the concourse areas for larger games to bring capacity back up to 8-9,000 minimum.

            “Like I said, it doesn’t matter, UE never had a choice in the matter, so blaming them for the demise of Roberts is pointless.”

            There was a poster who came on here claiming the city offered Roberts to UE and they balked due to “structural problems” which obviously don’t exist. When I questioned him/her about which side is the one who said the building had structural problems, they disappeared. If either the city or the university wanted the team to stay there, it would have happened. Both had leverage, yet both thought this move was the correct decision and it’s not.

  15. Evansville’s lack of growth is not attributable to the decline of attendance at UE basketball games or even the end of the Lockyear College basketball teams, but in part to the high Vectren electrical rates. It is predicted in 10 years, electrical rates will go up 32%. That is a killer for increase home expense and business expense combined with the large increases in the Evansville sewer rates.

    • JoeBiden, you just hit the nail on the head. What the hell is this past Vectren Executive Neil Ellerbrook trying to spin on us. Vectren high utility rates caused us loss of business expansion and jobs for the blue collar workers of this area. Also all you have to check is check and see what state and local political candidates campaigns he, Vectren Pac Committee, high up Vectren Executives donated money to.

      Ladies and gents the answer why Evansville is losing jobs and new residents moving into Evansville is not the decline U of E basketball but the greed of Vectren.

      • You might add the greed of the local politicos, soaring water and sewage bills, and horrific pollution problems to that list, but Vectren is right at the top of it.

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