The battle over whether to build an on-campus stadium has raged for months. But today, itâ€™ll see something it hasnâ€™t before.
David Ridpath, a CSU alum and an assistant professor of sports administration at Ohio University, will systematically debunk each of the five reasons to build an on-campus stadium that university officials have cited at nearly every turn of the heated community debate.
His presentation will start at 7 p.m. and take place in the Lory Student Center North Ballroom.
â€œI want to be able to present information that will help make the best possible decision,â€ Ridpath said. â€œWe have to move very slow, deliberate and cautious on this, but I think we also have to be realistic about where the college athletics landscape is going, and where Colorado State fits into that.â€
Ridpath, who holds a doctorate in higher education administration, came after being invited by Save Our Stadium Hughes and a similar CSU student organization, Save Our Stadium CSU. The two groups hope to use the event to inject outside expert analysis into the on-campus stadium discussion.
â€œWe want to say to the people on the fence who are saying, gosh, show us some data, show us some facts, and thatâ€™s what weâ€™re tying to do tomorrow,â€ said Bob Vangermeersch, the founder of Save Our Stadium Hughes.
Supporters of the proposal have mainly argued that it will push CSU athletics â€“â€“ especially its football team â€“â€“ into the top-20 programs in the nation. Once that happens, the university will see a spike in applications, donations and an overall improvement in its academics.
Itâ€™s a sunny vision of the future that not everyone thinks will come to pass. And while those individuals have mostly been Fort Collins residents, it now also includes Ridpath.
â€œI used to think all these things. So Iâ€™m not coming from left field. I come from the business. I used to study intercollegiate athletics â€¦ but I went out and sought answers and started to find out that the data doesnâ€™t back up these claims,â€ he said. â€œbut thereâ€™s a lot of universities â€¦ that have done the same thing and are not seeing the return on investment.
â€œWe shouldnâ€™t sell as something thatâ€™s going to do something that itâ€™s likely not.â€
The event also marks the latest installment of moves S.O.S. Hughes has made to burnish their organization as a serious opposition group. Before, theyâ€™ve held meetings where like-minded residents show up and voice their concerns in locations around Fort Collins. Now, theyâ€™re on campus and packing expert insight into their agendas.
â€œNow all of the sudden, this is kind of our coming out party,â€ said Deb James, a spokeswoman for S.O.S. Hughes. â€œWeâ€™ve showed up. Weâ€™re on the scene.â€
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at email@example.com.