Thursday, June 10, 1999

Update on All Kinds of Good Stuff

On Wednesday, Richmond Times-Dispatch writer Jeff White published an article called Hokies hoping to expand Lane that touched upon three of the hottest topics on Hokie fans minds this summer: Lane Stadium expansion, Big East membership, and football scheduling.

Here’s a quick summary of some of the highlights of Jeff’s article, plus additional comments.

Item 1: Lane Stadium expansion

2300 seats will be added in the North (Cassell) end zone before next season. I understand that this set of seats will not be contoured and will not run from one side to the other, but will rather be straight sets of bleachers, very similar in appearance and size to the bleachers we have rented in the recent past.

Tech had hoped to add 4000 seats in a contoured, banana-shaped formation that ran from the East stands to the West stands, but as Mr. Weaver says in the article, that was not doable for $500,000, which is the cutoff point beyond which legislative approval from the State of Virginia is required (and subsequently, the cutoff point beyond which things get much more complicated and time consuming).

As a side bar, I have been told that the same firm that is doing the Lane Stadium bleachers will install 300 bleacher seats in the softball field at the same time. The two projects are not grouped together, from what I’m told, so the softball bleachers are not factored into that $500,000 ceiling.

11,000 more seats will be added in the South (score board) end zone by the 2002 season (preliminary estimate). This is where it gets confusing - Jeff reports that this will cost "only" 8 million dollars (estimated). The reason it’s confusing is that I thought expansion in the South end zone would include not just seats (which might be doable for $8 million), but would also include media rooms, visitors locker rooms, and various and sundry other athletic facilities and spaces.

I can’t see all that getting done for "just" $8 million, so it will be interesting to see what is actually going to get done by 2002 in the South end zone.

At the same time, another 1,700 seats will be added to the North end zone, which means that the North end zone seats will run from East to West at that point, and the North end zone will be fully closed in by 4000 bleacher seats.

Stop and think about that for a second, folks. At that point, Lane Stadium will be completely enclosed into a bowl. That sounds like fun.

Luxury boxes will be added and the press box tower will be expanded by the 2003 season (preliminary estimate). This is where the big bucks will come in, and where the big bucks will be made. Luxury boxes will mean increased revenue for the Hokies for years to come.

This phase will not add any new seats to Lane Stadium (other than the seats in the luxury boxes), but it sure will add some impressive-looking concrete and glasswork to the stadium. And, from what I understand, Hokie stone. And the luxury boxes and expanded press box will serve as a great vertical surface for the screams of the East stands to reverberate off of.

By the time this is done, Lane Stadium will be loud, loud, loud.

What about the Jumbotron? Speaking of loud, what about the Jumbotron scoreboard? There was no mention of it in the RT-D article, but sources have told me that the Jumbotron will be in place in the South end zone for the 2000 season. For you traditionalists, the 1999 season will be the last year without a Jumbotron, so enjoy it.

When will the plans be released to the public? As I mentioned in a previous News and Notes, the Lane Stadium expansion plans were originally slated to be released in June of 1999 (this month), and all indications are that it’s still a go. But in order to start fund-raising, the plans have to be an approved school project, which means that the process, which is being handled quickly by the athletic department, might bog down a little when it hits Burruss Hall.

I don’t know if the plans are allowed to be released before the project is formally approved, so you can see that there are a number of factors playing together that will dictate whether or not the Lane expansion plans are released this month.

One thing I do find interesting is that the Hokie Huddler is saving its year-end issue for some time this summer, instead of wrapping it up and shipping it in late May/early June. I can’t help but think that they’re putting together a special Big-East-membership-and-Lane-Stadium-expansion issue to end the year. That, my friends, would be a Hokie collectible of the highest order.

I will eventually place all of this information, which represents the latest info culled from official and unofficial sources, on my new Lane Stadium Expansion page. That page will be linked at the top of my slightly-redesigned Football page, and I'll let you know when it's ready.

Item 2: Big East membership

There’s still nothing official, but I heard from one source that the announcement will come soon, like in the next week, and a "conference realignment message board" referenced on the HokieCentral message board says that the date for the vote is June 22nd.  As I promised, when the announcement is made, I’ll put together an article that gives my thoughts on the subject. It will serve as a rebuttal of sorts to my recent "What if we don’t get in?" Special Feature.

Hmmm, did I say "when the announcement is made"?  It sounds like I’m pretty confident we’re getting in. Take that for what it’s worth, which isn’t much.

Item 3: Western Michigan football dates are firmed up

From Jeff White’s article: Western Michigan will visit Tech in 2001 and 2004, and the Hokies will play at Western Michigan in 2002.  I have nothing to say about that, other than this: Beerman has updated his future schedules page with the new information.  Thanks, Beerman.


Kendrick Charged With Marijuana Possession

WDBJ-7 out of Roanoke reported Wednesday night that backup tailback Andre Kendrick, who had a great spring and is slated to see significant playing time next season, was charged with possession of marijuana.   The report said that Kendrick, who was rapidly becoming a fan favorite, was charged "several weeks ago," and that his trial will be in August.  This is all of the information that the TV-station provided.  They did not say if the charge was a misdemeanor, felony, etc., so I'm not sure how Tech's athletic behavior policy will be in effect here.

Message board poster "Esquire," an attorney, provided the following information regarding the charge:

Simple possession of marijuana (less than 1/2 ounce) is a misdemeanor in VA and carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail. But, this is key: If this is Kendrick's first offense, he can request the Judge to have his charge treated under 18.2-251 of the Virginia Code. This basically requires that he participate in a drug counseling program. If he successfully completes the program, THE CHARGE IS DISMISSED, i.e., he is found not guilty. This result can be obtained fairly routinely in Montgomery County. (I have represented many in this circumstance) I wonder how the VT athletic rules recently imposed would relate to an ultimate dismissal.

So it's hard to say what will happen with Kendrick.  If it's a misdemeanor charge, it's the AD's discretion as to whether or not he is suspended.   If it's a felony charge, then he will be automatically suspended.

Whatever.  Frankly, I'm tired of reporting this crap, and tired of trying to remember the details of Tech's policy on athletic behavior.   I shouldn't have to remember it, know what I mean?


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