Thursday, June 5, 2008

Badgers almost play at Lambeau Field

The rumor was intriguing enough that University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez sought to substantiate it this spring. Is it true Fresno State officials rejected a multi-million-dollar offer from an independent promoter to move their Sept. 13 home football game against UW to Lambeau Field in Green Bay? Well, sort of. Alvarez said he was told the offer included a $1 million payout to Fresno State, as well as a promise to install FieldTurf at 41,031-seat Bulldog Stadium. Alvarez said an official from the Western Athletic Conference told him about the particulars during the NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament in April. Alvarez said he subsequently verified it during a trip to the West Coast earlier this month. "I know they really want that game," he said of Fresno State officials. But while Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh confirmed the $1 million offer and the promise of a new playing surface for the stadium, he made several points that downplay the apparent significance of the proposal.For one thing, Boeh said this week that his school generates $1 million in revenue from its home football games, so the payout represents a wash. For another, Boeh said the offer to install FieldTurf at Bulldog Stadium amounted to around $800,000. "We just weren't interested," he said. According to Boeh, the Fresno State AD since 2005, multiple offers have been made from multiple third parties about switching the September game against the Badgers to Lambeau Field."It's come up at least twice since '05," he said. "We've never had any interest." The value of the game to the Bulldogs goes beyond the gate receipts. They return 17 starters from a team that went 9-4 last season and fancy themselves as contenders for a Bowl Championship Series berth. The Badgers, meanwhile, are regarded by some as Big Ten Conference title contenders. Fresno State plays two other schools from BCS conferences — Rutgers (Big East) and UCLA (Pacific Ten) — but those games are on the road. Alvarez said it would be intriguing to play a game at Lambeau Field, but he wouldn't give up a home date at Camp Randall Stadium to do so. "How are we going to handle our season ticket-holders?" he asked rhetorically. "We just couldn't move a home game. There's just too many hassles with that."
To say that the Badgers couldn't move a home game because of the hassle sounds like a cop out to me. They should just tell the truth and say that it is more work than they want to do. Hopefully someday the Badgers will play at Lambeau Field. GO BUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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