Football???? VCU??? Now that I have your attention, I know many of you will say, “but they are undefeated right now?” (That’s the joke I heard over and over this week over Twitter and Facebook.) But in all seriousness, let’s talk football and VCU. It’s definitely all the buzz. I sat down with VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague this week, he had no problem talking about it.
Let’s start from the beginning. Two weeks ago I obtained copies of Fulton Hill Partnership’s proposal for a shopping center on the City Stadium site. Many residents who live near the 82-year-old venue have been up in arms over the idea of tearing down the stadium. I began hearing buzz that VCU was meeting with Richmond’s Mayor this week. And sure enough, Athletic Director, Norwood Teague was kind enough to sit down with us. He says unequivocally, VCU wants the City Stadium property. “We’ve been following the debate closely. Certainly it’s something that we’re interested in. We’re definitely in discussions with the powers that be. We are very interested in the stadium.”
Teague says VCU wants to keep the property a stadium. He says, “there’s a lot of other uses that we would have from an athletic standpoint, whether it be tennis or baseball, there’s a lot of options…. It’s such a great piece of land, that’s close to VCU… and it would be tough to see it go away from an athletic venue.”
As for football Teague said, ”It’s something that if we do, we want to do right. We know that it costs a lot of money and the economy’s not great right now, but it’s something that begs the question because we’re a large school. A lot of our fans want it, a lot of our students want it. There’s some that don’t, but it’s something that we’re going to research and research pretty heavily over the next year.” He went on to say, “Most schools that have started a football program at the Division I level, whether it be Old Dominion, UNC Charlotte, or where ever, they have a stadium they can play in right away. If football is a possibility I think you can connect the dots that City Stadium would certainly work well for us. It’s something where looking at. Something we’re trying to evaluate and see where it all ends up.”
Richmond’s Mayor, Dwight Jones had this say this week, “We’re going to do a series of community meetings to find out once again the community wants. As a part of that process you’re going to have entities that have vested interests. They’re going to do what they want, and so I would imagine VCU will be out there pumping up the volume. I would imagine developers will be out there pumping up the volume. When we hold our community meetings, we want to find the highest and best use for the property. We don’t want to do that absent from the community’s input, we want them to have input.”
And so the debate continues…