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Extra Innings: Slim gyms

Our gym is small. Way too small. How many of you saw the recent Naz game? Good for you if you did. I wasn’t able to get in. I forgot that because of our gymnasium’s capacity, you basically have to start camping out the night before a big game if you want a chance to get in. And we shouldn’t have to do that. This isn’t American Idol.

Now, I’ve researched 25 colleges and crunched some numbers to figure out how our problem compares to other colleges, both local and from around the country. If you don’t want to read a bunch of numbers, then this might be the time for you to read something else. Check out the Papa John’s ad (Papa John’s, please note this mention — send free pizza).

To illustrate the fact that our gym is too small, I’ve created the Student to Seating Ratio Index. The SSRI represents the number of seats a school has at their basketball venue compared to the student enrollment at that school. Basically, it’s students vs. the number of seats available. Here’s what I’ve got. The home of our basketball team, Manning & Napier Varsity Gymnasium, has a capacity of 1,200. The college itself has an enrollment of 2,075 which gives Fisher a SSRI of .58. For every one student here at Fisher, there’s .58 of a seat waiting for them at the gym. Find a buddy, since you’re sharing a seat.

Now let’s take our rival, Nazareth College. Enrollment of 1,800 and a gym capacity of 1,200 equals a SSRI rating of .67. Better than Fisher. Hear that, administration, Naz is better than Fisher at something.

On a bigger scale, look at Duke University. For a school of 6,500, they can pack 9,314 Cameron Crazies into a basketball game. That leads to a SSRI of 1.43. Almost one-and-a-half seats per student. Bring Star Jones to a game and she’ll be comfortable.

And the prize for best SSRI? Out of all the schools surveyed, Syracuse University is our champion. With 18,247 students and a basketball capacity of 33,000 at the Carrier Dome, ‘Cuse brings a 1.81 SSRI to the table. That’s almost two students per seat. Now Star Jones can bring her husband.

So what am I trying to say here? Ah, that’s right. We’ve fallen behind when it comes to taking care of our fans here at Fisher. And that’s a problem. We’re a school that prides itself on our athletic prowess yet those in charge have let this problem continue on. Let’s fix it. Let’s build a gymnasium that has a capacity bigger than my high school alma matter — Rush-Henrietta, SSRI of 1.11 — and welcome all of our students to basketball games, not just the ones who brought their sleeping bags. You have to admit that the current situation is like saying you want to be a fire truck when you grow up - it doesn't make sense.

Originally published in the Cardinal Courier (Volume 5-Issue 8; Feb. 8, 2006).
Bill Kuchman
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