We’ve confirmed that Sunday’s hoops game between Idaho and the #25 Portland Pilots will be moved to Memorial Gym from its originally scheduled venue of the Cowan Spectrum. This is to accommodate indoor football practice in the Kibbie Dome in anticipation of a probable bowl invitation.
While we can’t fault the decision-making here, it’s disappointing because it represents a blown opportunity for Vandal basketball to put on a marquee showcase.
The Pilots are the first nationally-ranked non-conference team to visit Moscow in at least 50 years, and possibly the first ever. This could be — should be — a premier game for the Vandals, a chance to play against one of the nation’s best teams on our difficult home court in front of thousands of fans.
Instead, it’ll be shoehorned into an admittedly-historic but ridiculously-undersized 1,500-seat gym, meaning tickets will be extremely limited for Idaho’s best non-conference home game of the season. Thousands of Vandal fans will be left out in the cold — and students, in particular, are likely to be shut out, given the requirements to seat the season ticketholders.
Students will be required to pick up hard tickets, though the details have yet to be worked out. We’ll keep you posted.
As a televised opportunity for the Vandals, our program’s facilities will be shown as second-rate at best — there are a good many Division II home courts that put Memorial Gym to shame.
This problem wasn’t anticipated, of course, because nobody thought our football team might be good enough to get into a bowl game. Whoops.
Let this debacle be a wake-up call to our administration: if the Idaho Vandals are expected to compete and win at the top level of American college sports, they need facilities worthy of championship teams. That means an arena Verlin and Newlee’s squads can call home.