If you’re an Indiana fan who is at all on line you probably noticed that the athletics department is partnering with a sports planning and advisory firm to look into improving football gamedays at memorial stadium.
you, dear reader, likely already have a great many suggestions to make to Indiana. however, let us consider an alternate reality. one in which Indiana has chosen instead to partner with us, the staff of crimson quarry, to fix the football gamedays.
Note: Among the fan suggestions is better wifi/cell service but unless I’m mistaken this step has already been taken this offseason.
B I S O N
Bring back the bison. I don’t know how many times we have to ask.
I don’t think you’re making anyone mad and if you are its not like their opinion matters. the bison is showing up more and more from the mascot of Nick’s to various articles of clothing from the great people at Homefield Apparel.
He is beloved and bringing him back would be the easiest win in program history.
BETTER FIELD DESIGN
Let’s just get this out of the way: The field is boring. Does it matter for the on-field product? No (we’ll get to that), but I would like to look at something that isn’t boring.
Indiana can claim some ownership of the candystripe look thanks to its swim/dive and basketball programs. The football program has used the theme as well to some mixed results (bring back the chrome domes too).
It’s difficult, but not impossible, to make the stripes work on the football uniforms... so just put them in the endzone. Our guy Ryan Cotter has been On This and has a website that we pulled the above image from.
It looks cool, just do it.
IMPROVED SEATING AND CONCESSIONS
The bleachers are Not Great. I know a ton of college football stadiums have them but Memorial could use some more actual stadium seating given how students were literally tearing bleachers out of the concrete back in 2021:
THEY RIPPED OUT ANOTHER BLEACHER. pic.twitter.com/g1xCBoLBHT— Griffin Gonzalez (@grifgonzo) September 18, 2021
On top of that, there’s not a lot to the concessions. It’s your standard stadium fare you can find anywhere. Plenty of programs around the country have region-specific food, I should be able to find a good tenderloin at the ballgame.
There need to be more stands in operation as well to help with wait times around the stadium. More unique fare and more stands.
Also, if you want students and others to attend, start a gameday shuttle service from Kirkwood to the stadium. People will want in from breakfast club. Imagine the damage “ZnC II” could do on the northeast concourse with that crowd!
Also add more handrails to the stands please that’s priority No. 1.
SOME CONSISTENT TRADITION PLEASE
The program has tried to do a John Mellencamp third quarter stadium singalong for two years now. The issue at hand is those two years included just six wins so many games were pretty much over by that point in time.
There’s just... not much tradition going on here. If there is it’s unofficial. If there was it’s gone now. We don’t have a thing.
Michigan sings Mr. Brightside or whatever. Ohio State does the O-H chant. Mississippi State has cowbells. There’s gotta be something.
USE THE STADIUM LIGHTS
I’ve been to enough away night games to know that the stadium lightshows other venues employ absolutely add to the atmosphere. This happened at Purdue, Nebraska and Penn State.
Some form of lightshow after a touchdown or something to add that extra little bit to the fireworks that usually go off would mean a good deal to the overall atmosphere.
A WATCHABLE, MAYBE WINNING PRODUCT
I was lucky enough to have student season tickets back in 2019 to enjoy one of the best years of Indiana football in a while.
The team didn’t reach the 2020 highs but was more than viable with bowl eligibility in October and a high-flying offense built off of explosive plays from Michael Penix Jr. It was a great atmosphere.
And I didn’t care all that much that the gameday experience wasn’t amazing because the team was winning and watchable. That is the biggest fix. You can pay so much money to improve the overall structure of gamedays, necessary changes mind you, but that won’t matter if the on-field product isn’t there to back it up.
The Hoosiers have been a moribund team for two years now. You can be a losing team or you can be unwatchable. You absolutely cannot do both. Watchable teams at least draw eyeballs, just look at the overall Wilson era.
With conference realignment in mind, Indiana cannot afford the consequences of remaining on its current course. The endgame would be bad for more than just the football program, but the athletic department as a whole.
Let’s leave being stinky in Memorial Stadium to this guy
MORE NIGHT GAMES (ESPECIALLY EARLY IN THE SEASON)
One of the best things about college football, especially when you’re a college student, is that it’s an excuse to hit the town and start drinking early on Saturday mornings. Kilroy’s breakfast club, pancakes in the tailgate field, and hard liquor in the early hours of the day - it can’t be beat.
That being said, Bloomington weather does not always make day games a pleasant experience for fans inside Memorial Stadium. Sitting in the East-facing bleachers as the sun continues to rise and bring temperatures up to the low triple digits is a great way to cross the threshold into dangerously dehydrated territory, ruining the fun for everyone.
In down years, this only makes it easier for the somewhat disinterested portion of the fanbase to hit the exits early. Even as somebody who gets paid to cover this team, if my Hoosiers are down 30 at half to the Buckeyes, I’m not going to stick around and roast on the metal bleachers to see how it ends.
By October, the weather is usually mild enough that even mid-afternoon games are tolerable, so it’s not like the whole schedule would need to be at night. I have a hard time believing any network would want to give the Hoosiers a primetime slot anyway.
Putting a couple of the early season, non conference games at night would alleviate the worst of the Bloomington weather and would hopefully result in fuller stadiums for the early season games that actually matter.
Part of getting older is realizing that you don’t have the stamina to stand in a grassy field for four to five hours before heading into Memorial Stadium. Sometimes it’s nice to sit in an air-conditioned establishment and have your drinks served to you from something other than a plastic half-gallon of alcohol.
Ever since the Old Yogi’s closed, there’s been a distinct lack of options for those who prefer to prepare for the games at a bar or restaurant. Once you settle into a comfortable bar to watch College Gameday, it can be hard to justify hoofing it across campus to get to the stadium and see the Hoosiers live.
This is a tricky thing to advocate for as so many of the charms of Bloomington are erased by over development, but there’s definitely a way to incorporate some food or drink option nearby without changing the vibe near 17th and Indiana.