Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Carolina Hurricanes are just a second-user


UPDATE, Sunday, June 9, 2013: For an good update on NC State's position, read the article in the Sunday, June 9 edition of The News & Observer: NC State counters Hurricanes' claim in PNC Arena dispute. And, for an even better understanding, look for and listen to sports radio host David Glenn explanation at David Glenn Show.

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So, Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford told N&O hockey beat reporter Chip Alexander in the “CanesNow” blog of June 4, 2013: "This is a unique situation. We came when people were talking about building (the) building. ... This building might not have been built if (the Hurricanes) hadn't have come along. Certainly the $40 million that (Canes owner) Pete Karmanos put into it to upgrade the building helped get the building going. With that being said, we respect the fact that N.C. State gets priority dates. Saturday is important to them, Wednesday is important to them because those are televised ACC games. But we don't respect the fact that they tie up half the dates during the winter to play a minimal amount of games."
 
Mr. Rutherford may be trying his best to be a comedian but the punch line is on him. The $40 million donation from Mr. Karmanos used toward the building of the Entertainment and Sports Arena (ESA) was done so in his best interest and not that of NC State University. The building might have been completed faster than expected but the upgrade was to accommodate his hockey team and NHL standards. It was not in the best interest of NC State basketball as the hockey design pushed the fans away from the playing floor, reducing the home-court advantage, and increasing operational costs. His money also was used to build a facility with seating way beyond NC State’s requirements. The building would have been built without Mr. Karmanos $40 million, and it would have been just fine for NC State basketball, as originally intended. It would not have seated as many as it does today, but that would have been okay.
 
As far as Saturday and Wednesday being important to NC State, I ask this question in all seriousness: What TV schedule has Mr. Rutherford been studying? In the time the Hurricanes have been in Raleigh, ACC Basketball games have been played and televised on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. ACC football is played and televised Thursday and Saturday. With the expansion of the Atlantic Coast Conference do not be surprised to find ACC basketball played all seven days/nights and football stepping outside the Thursday and Saturday schedule. While the Hurricanes have a contract with the NHL, NC State has one with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Neither the Hurricanes nor NC State can dictate to their respective leagues when games will be played. That’s up to the leagues and their respective television partners who, whether you like it or not, pay most of the bills (at least in the ACC; maybe not so much in the NHL) and therefore have a lot of say-so in the date and time for games. For the benefit of recruiting and expanding its popularity, NC State needs all the TV exposure it can get; to try to dictate dates and times of kickoffs and tip-offs would be detrimental to that end.
 
Let’s face it. That a college team and a professional team are using the same building is tough for scheduling. I’ve not looked thoroughly but my thought is there is no other major college team in the nation that shares an arena 100% of the time with a professional team. And, when you throw in a shared parking lot for football and hockey, the situation here is very unique. The NHL wants to complete its schedules in June; the ACC completes its basketball schedule in August and sets TV times for football throughout the season, sometimes just a few days before the game. The ACC, with a huge TV contract from ESPN, is seeking maximum exposure in basketball and football for its members, and being flexible in establishing kickoff times for football and dates and times for basketball is extremely important to the success of the conference. It’s also in the contract between the league, its members and ESPN.
 
One thing to remember, Mr. Karmanos brought his $40 million to the table long after the plans were in the works to build the ESA for the primary purpose of NC State basketball games. If the University had not started the project, if NC State University had not convinced the General Assembly to match the money raised by NC State University, no one would have ever had the thought of asking the Hartford Whalers to move to North Carolina. So, that the Hurricanes are here is not because Mr. Karmanos wanted to move to Raleigh and asked for an arena to be built for his hockey team. The Hurricanes are in Raleigh because NC State decided to build an arena and some know-it-all civic leaders thought the best way to build it was to seek a second user which was not necessary. And, that’s what we have with the Hurricanes, a second user.
 
This is not about who uses the building more for its purpose. It's not about attendance figures. It's about what's right. And what's right is NC State University's desire many years ago to build a new and larger facility for its men's basketball team. That's how it started, and that's how it should be viewed. If this were NC State's facility, the fans would not be over-charged with outlandish prices for food as we now see because that happens to be the way of the professional sports world. And, it would have the warmth as it should have as the home of the Wolfpack than just being another building that's not as special as it should be for college basketball. It's a professional atmosphere with a college team playing on a frozen floor. Now that's cold.
 
Mr. Rutherford also said to the N&O: We respect the fact that N.C. State has priority dates and rightfully so.” If Mr. Rutherford has such respect then he should dig in his heels and tell the NHL to back off. He should tell the NHL the Hurricanes are thankful to call Raleigh home and that you have a commitment to NC State that must be honored and that means waiting until the ACC has its schedule in place, especially for basketball, even in August. Otherwise, to paraphrase the great philosopher, Lewis Grizzard: “Delta is ready when you are to take you back to Hartford.”
 

45 comments:

  1. Thanks for your opinion although I don't agree with it. The Hurricanes are the primary user with twice as many games and they unify a region generally divided by college allegiances. I have never seen a community come together like ours did for the Cup run in 2006. They are much more than a second user and they are an important partner in the building. I think it would be better for NCSU to return to Reynolds and let the Canes keep their home at the ESA (originally named for the purpose which it is being put). Of course that isn't going to happen either, so the partners both need to grow up, work together, and move on.

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    1. Jim, it is my understanding that this is a public facility funded by the citizens of NC and $60m from the Hurricanes. The purpose of the building is to have a shared facility, but NCSU is trying to take their ball and go home. They have too many dates reserved for the number of games they will be hosting. This is a new issue to me, although they may have had scheduling issues in the past and just done a better job of keeping it behind closed doors. Is the ACC having a hard time assigning dates because they keep inviting unwanted guests into our league? As season ticket holders for both teams, we sure hope they resolve their differences soon.

      As far as Willie York goes (or Smedes for that matter), they are both died in the wool NCSU folks but also both sound business men, and neither would sacrifice making sound business decisions with other people’s money just because they are/were passionate about NCSU basketball. I don’t think anyone is arguing that NCSU shouldn’t get first pick of dates, they should just not be pigs about holding so many dates that they clearly won’t need.

      And yes, NCSU is certainly more important for our region than the Hurricanes, although the Canes impact can't be ignored. But this is a discussion about sharing a sports and entertainment facility where the Canes deserve more respect than they are getting in my opinion. Maybe I will get what I want sooner than later and the Canes will build a new arena downtown, and the PNC Arena will go the way of the dinosaurs.

      Thanks for the stimulating debate on this issue. GY

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    3. Jim PomeranzJune 6, 2013 at 11:37 AM

      George, Yes, there were public funds and private money...more than $20 million raised by NC State and MATCHED by the State of North Carolina, money that would not have been forthcoming if not for NC State's participation. As far as reserving dates, State is not being a pig. The ACC schedules games NOW on six nights of the week. (The ACC will probably take the place of the Big East on Monday.) So, ESPN is studying the schedules and matching games with nights. NC State cannot tell the ACC it will only play on certain nights. The schedule will be out in August.

      As far as a downtown arena, I was on a committee in the early 1980s that proposed a downtown arena, but the bright City of Raleigh leaders at that time didn't want it for various reasons such as traffic, the possibility of high density building, the loss of small-town atmosphere with big town desires. Much of that leadership though remains today, so the thought of building a downtown arena maybe out of the question. Maybe the Canes can build one, fully privately funded just for hockey.

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  2. Thanks, George, for your comment. As I said, it's not about who has the most games played there, and it's definitely not about unifying a region. Yes, the Hurricanes are important to the building but not equal to or more than NC State University. Two things I ask you: How do you propose to resolve the matter in addition to "the partners both need to grow up, work together, and move on," as you say, and how do you think your grandfather would feel about this? My guess is your answer to the first is to let the Hurricanes schedule first, thumbing their noses at NC State and the ACC, and I believe Willie York would side with NC State. In the long run, the University is much more important to the region (and especially to your business) than the Carolina Hurricanes are.

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  3. Hear, hear, all the N&O stuff offers none of this background to the average non-Wuffie reader. The way they (and TBJ) are reporting it, we are the bad guys. On the other hand, the hand we are now dealt, is that if the Canes (and Gail Force) fail, we are stuck with an arena we can't afford.

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  4. Larry, do not under-estimate NCSU's ability to "afford" the arena. It can be done.

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  5. Well written, and balances out the coverage of the N&O....now if you could just get it printed in the N&O (maybe as a guest opinion?)

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  6. Thanks for your kind remarks. Getting it printed in The N&O is harder to do than convincing the Hurricanes that NC State cannot give away all the dates until the basketball schedule has been set...

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  7. If not for the canes and the state taxpayer's (both of whom you're now screwing) State could have never gotten into a nice facility. If you say don't underestimate state's ability to buy it outright...I as a taxpayer say do it. Most taxpayers I know would prefer the canes over what has passed for wolpfack (their spelling, not mine) basketball since it was buitl

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    1. No one is "now screwing" anyone. The agreement for State to have first choice on dates was made from day one otherwise State would have said "no" and there would have been no Hurricanes. If State had built the building itself, today, State would be servicing the debt. You can prefer the Hurricanes all you wish, but without State's desire to build the ESA, the Hurricanes would still be the Whalers or maybe, better yet, the wailers as is now the case. Thanks for reading and writing...

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  8. You certainly take the side of NC State over the side of doing what is best for everyone. If NC State didn't want to "share", then they shouldn't have entered into an agreement with an entity that was going to require the building more than NC State was. It's easy to see that you could care less for hockey and would like the Canes to leave the building so the Pack could do as it pleased. How about all the business and employees of the area that would suffer?

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    1. Yes, I do take the side of NC State, my alma mater. The University's overall role in the Raleigh area is much greater than that of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Wolfpack athletics is a huge part of that. And, I do not wish for the Hurricanes to leave, but the Hurricanes entered into the agreement knowing NC State would have first choice of dates and that NC State would have to agree to the policies of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Maybe the Hurricanes thought they could get the ACC to change the way it schedules. If The Hurricanes didn't want to share and give NC State first choice, based on the policies of the ACC, then the Hurricanes shouldn't have entered into the agreement.

      To future anonymous posters, please show your face...sign your posts. Let's see who you are...

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  9. ...and I would take the side of both. NC State is also my alma mater, my daughter's alma mater, and another daughter is entering her second year there. There is no reason that it could be worked out for 14 years and now can not.

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    1. And, my Dad's alma mater, and cousins and siblings and many other family members. For the last 14 years, the process has been just as it is now with NC State holding back all the dates it requires to honor the ACC contract. So why are the Hurricanes so upset?

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  10. I guess we need to see who has the most connections to NCSU to see who wins. How stupid. I only spoke of my connections because you seem to make a big deal of yours and use it as the justification of your stance.

    This is the first year that NCSU has held back this ammount of days in order to schedule 23 events. NCSU was happy to use the taxpayers' money and the Hurricanes money to complete the arena, and now are trying to say it's all theirs. All it takes is some cooperation to work it out. Both sides are going to have to give something. Major arenas all over this country are used by multiple entities.

    If NCSU wanted total control, then they should have never agreed to have Gale Force Holdings manage the arena.

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    1. Why continue to post as Anonymous? got something to hide?

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    2. David Glenn had a great explanation on his show today. The previous NCSU administrations let the arena management deal with the ACC for the dates and lived with it. The NCSU current administration is trying to build the program and needs the scheduling flexibility to do so. You can't fault NC State for wanting what's best for its basketball program and enforcing the terms of the agreement to do so.

      As far as using the Hurricanes money, it was not needed at the time but was offered as a way for the Hurricanes to relocate. The taxpayers money was agreed upon before the Hurricanes ever entered the picture.

      If the Hurricanes and/or Gale Force were concerned about having the dates they want, they should have never entered into an agreement that gives NC State first choice and the right to hold back as many dates as they wish until the football and basketball schedules are complete.

      Obviously you are not as much of an NC State fan as you are a Hurricanes fan.

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  12. I don't have to be anonymous. I have nothing to hide. I just didn't think it was that important. I just commented because you linked to this blog on WRAL comments. Why do you feel the need to get defensive and say I have something to hide?

    I would say that you have no idea if I'm more of a Pack or Canes fan. Why can't someone be both. You are obviously not interested in seeing the Hurricanes so you totally back the State side of the argument.

    Your comments on NC State not needing the Hurricanes money for the arena is laughable and to dismiss the taxpayer money is short sighted. The very residents that helped to pay for the arena will be hurt by limiting it's use. I would ask if you care about that aspect of it.

    If NC State wanted it totally as their facility, then they should have built it on campus with Wolfpack money. Once you start taking money from other places, you have a certain responsibility to those other entities. For you to say that NC State is just doing as it has been doing is wrong.

    Bottom line, there is no reason that there can't be a compromise that would allow both sides to get a good part of what they need.

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    1. Actually NC State is doing what its agreement says it can do which it didn't do for the first 14 years. good for NC State to attempt to make the program better.

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  13. You stated that the PNC was the only arena housing a college and a professional team. One thing that was pointed out to me by someone else today on a message board. The Staples Center in LA is the home of the LA Kings (41 home games), LA Lakers (41 home games), LA Clippers (41 home games), and LA Sparks (17 home games). This doesn't even include pre-season and playoff games. Surely if they can manage to make dates for all of those, the PNC Arena can house 41 Canes games and 23 NC State games.

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    1. Let's see, Lakers and Clippers are both NBA so setting their schedules is easy. And, the NBA sets its schedules very early as does the NHL. There's a huge difference between that arena being shared and the PNC Arena being shared. Yes, the PNC can handle all the games, but NC State's schedule is not set until August each year and it's the ACC that does it. No way around that.

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    2. Verizon Center in Washington DC houses Georgetown Hoyas (NCAA), Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Capitals (NHL), and Washington Mystics (WNBA). FedEx Forum in Memphis houses Memphis Tigers (NCAA) and Memphis Grizzlies. Yeah, I'm sure you are right and there is no way to have a successful NCAA men's basketball program in a shared building with a pro entity.

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    3. Every situation is different. NC State wants more flexibility to makes its program better. It's a shame that the Hurricanes and Gale Force do not want to honor the agreement. NC State is not the bad guy here.

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  14. If NC State wants to make its program better, the Hurricanes aren't prohibiting that. Better players and a better coach and living up to preseason hype would actually be more productive in that regard. And yes I AM an NCSU fan for many decades with many family members who are alumni. And a Hurricanes fan. Cooperation is the key here.

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  15. Are you really that ignorant? Do you not understand that without the Hurricanes/Gale Force you (NCState) would still be playing your basketball games on campus. I worked with a group that was successful at stopping the arena being built with taxpayer money. It wasn't until the Hurricanes and the idea of a multipurpose arena came into play did we stop. At that time we had the Hurricanes, Arena Football, and NCState using the building in addition to other uses. NCState DOES NOT have a big enough fan base to support that building. If they become the only tenant in that building then the taxpayers are on the hook for enormous losses. Debbie Yow must go before this get's any messier!

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    1. So you're saying that State should take a back seat to wrestling, tractor pulls, inspirational speakers, etc., and the Hurricanes for scheduling its games. You are the ignorant one. State would have built an arena without the Hurricanes. The General Assembly's money was in hand and it could have been done just as the expansion of Carter-Finley Stadium was and is. Thanks for reading and writing...

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    2. And, by the way, while I wanted Bobby Purcell to get the Athletics Director position at State, Debbie Yow may be the best Wolfpack AD since Willis Casey, who was the best. Eventually, she may surpass him.

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  16. Why don't you guys learn something from the Tarheels! The Dean Dome was built by the Ram's Club, no pity party to the taxpayers. And yes NCState SHOULD stand in line behind everyone else on using a "publicly funded arena". If they didn't want to do that then the WolfPack Club should have passed around the collection plate and built what they could afford ON CAMPUS. You forget, NCState NEEDED the Hurricanes in order to get their "me-too dome". The Hurricanes didn't need NCState, there was already a plan in place to build the arena downtown until Murphy offered up "free land". Quit looking at things thru "Yow colored glasses", this is the same gal that fires winning coaches that simply don't agree with her. That left Maryland in financial shambles and will most likely do the same to state.

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    1. Dear Chet (no last name, no guts):

      I continue to ask why the Hurricanes and Gale Force entered into the agreement that gives State first choice of dates and on its timetable. May you with all your wisdom can tell us. And, the plan to build downtown never went anywhere because the City did not want it there. The plan to build at Carter-Finley Stadium was because it would be on NC State University land! We were not chasing the Tar Heels when we planned the ESA. We wanted a larger facility and planned for it. The biggest problem was the establishment of the Centennial Authority to oversee its construction. Again, if the CA had not existed, State would have raised the money somehow, someway, and yes with some money appropriated by the General Assembly, to build the arena, probably around the 14,000 to 15,000 seat variety, a viable solution for NC State. When the Hurricanes were approached, it was the Hurricanes that wanted a bigger place that could be used for ice hockey and they paid that tab.

      As far as Debbie Yow, my guess if you're not an NC State fan and prefer State to have a passive AD instead of one who wants the best department and athletics teams possible. She's doing a good job that will only improve in time.

      All the best...let me hear from you again, even without your last name...

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    2. ...and I continue to ask why NC State would allow Gale Force Holdings to manage "their" shiny new facility and handle all the scheduling? There is more to this somewhere that we don't know about.

      What is up with your hang up about anonymous posters and last names? Paranoid much?

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    3. There's not much more to this than meets the eye. The previous Athletics Director didn't care much for scheduling and went along with the ACC office. This athletics director at the urging of the basketball coach wants to improve the schedule and have the opportunity for better opponents in TV showcase games. To do that, State MUST have more control on its dates, so Debbie Yow has told the ACC to stop calling the PNC Arena to ask about dates. The folks at Gale Force have pretty much been able to run it their way for years, and now that Debbie Yow wants to enforce the agreement, the folks at Gale Force are upset. Yes, there needs to be a lot of give and take, but this was also built to help with NC State basketball, and taking charge of scheduling of its games is a very important want to do that.

      As far as anonymous posters, I'm not paranoid about anything. If you have something to say, show your face and quite hiding behind walls...

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  17. While NC State definitely is more important than the Hurricanes as far as economic scope goes, NC State Athetlic's use of the PNC Arena is no where near as important.

    Gale Force (which oversees the Hurricanes AND all other major events: concerts etc) creates jobs and income for the city and it's residents more than NC State Athletics. That is a fact and there's no way to argue that.

    Now while this has never been a problem before, why is it suddenly an issue? NC State (mainly Ms. Yow) has created this problem. The two sides have always been able to work it out before.

    "This is not about who uses the building more for its purpose. It's not about attendance figures. It's about what's right."

    Are you high? It's definitely about who uses the building more for its purpose. It's DEFINITELY about attendance figures. The Hurricanes have a larger economic impact on the region than NC State Basketball / Football. There's no reason to hold onto all those dates when it's always been able to be worked out before.

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    1. So you're hiding behind a fake name and "jobs, jobs, jobs." Ms. Yow didn't create this problem. The issue is an agreement that the previous AD and basketball coaches ignored. Now, Debbie wants what's best for the NC State basketball program. Nothing wrong with that. This issue is about an agreement signed many years ago that Gale Force has ignored and now that State wants to better its basketball program, the Hurricanes and Gale Force are upset that they do not get their way. And, there is no data that says the Hurricanes have a large economic impact on the region than NC State football and basketball. What the fans will generate for the eight home football games this fall is much greater than the entire Hurricanes season.

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    2. The following numbers are assuming complete sell-outs for both NC State Football Events and Hurricanes events.

      The PNC Center sits 18,680 at capacity for hockey games. With 41 games that will result in 765,880 butts in seats (assuming all sell-outs again).

      Carter Finley Stadium sits 60,000 at capacity. With eight games to fill that will put 480,000 butts in seats. Nearly half of what Hurricanes games alone create.

      Now I realize that both of these factors are relying on sell outs and that neither NC State Basketball games OR other events (scheduled by Gale Force) are being factored in.

      The fact of the matter is that there are two entities that should be able to work this out as adults. NC State needs to be come off their hard-ball stance and come to the negotiating table for the benefit of all parties involved.

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    3. One of State's issues is that it is a member of the ACC which does not complete its schedule until August, and for State to be able to schedule high profile games, it needs to hold out more dates. Before Debbie Yow, the ACC was told to deal directly with Gale Force to make the schedule, and Gale Force told the ACC what dates were available. But sometimes that left State out in the cold in being able to have a better schedule, so, being the good administrator that she is, Debbie has instructed the ACC to deal directly with NC State and not with the PNC Arena. This is the way it should have been done all along. I hope this gets worked out for all parties, but as I've said before and I stick my it, NC State needs to do what is best for NC State while considering all other parties. It's not about Gale Force being able to schedule a wrestling event to better the bottom line.

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  18. Plenty of guts but in this conversation/debate names really don't mean much. Gale Force entered into the agreement because in return they were able to gain "naming rights" to the arena. For Gale Force that was more important than giving NCState first choice on dates for what has been a real sucky basketball program up until the hire of Gottfried(sp). You did NOT have the General Assembly money (too many UNC and Wake Forest Alumni there at the time). Murphy had been sitting on that land for years and DID NOT offer it up until the downtown build started gaining momentum (who can turn down free land for an arena)! Until the Canes entered the equation and the downtown site gained momentum Mr. Murphy was quite happy to keep the land with the thoughts of placing office condo's there (or some other high dollar use). There was no discussion of an arena until the Dean Dome opened with all it's fan fare. At that time the WolfPack Club decided they wanted one to, just no one wanted to pony up any money for it.

    There was a time I was a big State fan but what the WolfPack Club did to Jimmy V was just horrendous, never forgave that. Then decades of bad decision (Les Robinson, Sidney Lowe, Chuck Amato, et al) hasn't done much to change my opinion. Best way to describe me is an ABC fan (Anybody But Carolina). But at least when UNC wants something they pay for it themselves, keeps the drama out of the media. When you have a AD that fires winning coaches because they don't agree with her then you have a problem. When you have a winning programs you need to check egos at the door and do what is best for the university.

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    1. That land was never Mr. Murphy's land. It was NC State land connected to the football stadium. I was also upset at the treatment of Jim Valvano but I'm also and NC State alumni and support the University which is greater than any one person. I do not agree with all the programs and policies there but I'm not one to abandon NC State, especially when I know and believe the University is in the "right" on an issue. In reality, we do not need fair-weather fans as you, Chet WhatEverYourName is.

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  19. The folks on Edwards Mill Road know me by that name. All that really matters.

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  20. David "superdave" MorrisJune 10, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    You throw your opinion out there like fact, and then when challenged, all you do is revert back to your opinion as fact (like 8 home NC State football games is more of an economic impact than the whole Hurricanes season). Unless you have laid your eyes on the contract and have the educational background to understand what is written in it, you don't know squat about the dispute between the two entities. If it reads that NC State has scheduling priority, the intent probably is not for NC State to block off half the calendar for 23 events. I don't know either, but the difference between you and I is that I don't put my opinion out there as fact.

    It's your blog, and your world. I hope it's all rainbows and lollipops where you live. You really do need to get over the anonymous/name thing. I don't even know if you are who you say you are. Does putting my name on my post mean anything more than I punched some buttons on a keyboard.

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    1. In that it is my blog, I can say and do what I want with it. And that I have had good discussions with those in the know about this give me reason to offer fact. I do know a lot about the dispute.

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  21. I can also limit the comments, but I have not. What some do not like is that I can also respond to the comments, and I can end the comments, which I now believe I will. Thanks to all who have participated. It has been a lively discussion. Go Wolfpack!

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  22. So now that someone has challenged you, you're ready to take your ball and go home. I don't know who you are either, but you sound like all Media and just want to stir up things. Make a lot out of a simple article in the Noise and Disturber. This thing will be settled when it gets settled and there is nothing anyone can so about it. I have read the articles and don't put the blame on either side. With that said, This didn't begin until Dr. Yow came to N.C. State. So I just hope they get this settled before we have a big war breaks out between State and Hurricanes fans..

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