football Edit

Town hall meeting to discuss strategic planning

Changes are coming within the infrastructure of Penn State athletics.
And what they are, and how and when they might start to take shape will likely start coming into focus Wednesday evening at Rec Hall. Called a 'town hall-style meeting,' Penn State Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour and Intercollegiate Athletics' strategic planning will present to the public for the first time some of their findings at 7 p.m., or streamed live at GoPSUSports.com.
The biggest point of interest, of course, revolves around the present and future prospects of the home of Penn State's football team at Beaver Stadium.
A structure seating nearly 107,000 fans, Beaver Stadium began at its present site in 1960 as a 46,284-seat horseshoe. Since, it has been expanded in 1980, 1991, and again in 2001, but much of its seating configuration and the amenities offered within have stayed largely the same.
Asked Tuesday afternoon at his weekly press conference about the possibility of reducing the capacity of Beaver Stadium from its present number down to 90,000 to better accommodate more comfortable seating and amenities, Penn State head coach James Franklin offered his own opinion. As he's been throughout, though, it was largely noncommittal.
Stating that attendance figures would probably figure in heavily, based on whether or not the program is drawing a capacity crowd week-in and week-out, Franklin noted the challenges that exist in the current set-up.
"You know, I think the challenge is the amenities. We want to make sure that we're providing as many amenities as we possibly can to create a great game-day environment in the stadium," Franklin said. "So they're all the things that our administration and some of the companies that we've hired to help us with these projects that are experts in these areas, that's what they're studying. That's going to be the big decisions that are going to have to be made in the off-season."
The Nittany Lions have not, of course, averaged capacity crowds through the 2015 season or in recent years. Checking in at 98,529 average attendance through the team's first six games at Beaver Stadium this season, the necessity of having so much seating is now being called into question given the upgrades in amenities that fans seem to be seeking.
Said Franklin, "Would you love to be able to provide all the amenities that you can in some of the best venues in the country as well as keeping it at 107,000 in the stadium and selling it out every single week? Yeah, that's the perfect situation for everybody involved.
"But obviously there's going to have to be some give and take there, and what that means at this point I'm not really sure because my focus is on Coach Fitz and Northwestern."
Regardless of Franklin's input at this juncture, Wednesday night's town hall meeting is likely to start shedding some light on the facility's present and future. Blue White Illustrated will have full coverage from the event.
To watch a live stream of the event, click here.