Mixed reactions to Chargers' move to USD dome

Photo by Kelsey Evans

Kaitlin Meister
Assistant Editor

While players, coaches and administrators are looking forward to Briar Cliff University’s football team having a home game in the dome of the University of South Dakota this season, students share mixed feelings. 

In an attempt to take the football program at BCU to the next level, athletic director Steve Gast has made arrangements with USD in allowing the football team to have one home game in the dome this season, and all of Briar Cliff’s home games in the dome for next year.

“I have been talking to USD for probably three years at least,” said Gast, “What made this possible was in their [USD’s] move to division one in National College Athletic Association.  They [USD] got in the Missouri Valley Conference, which stabilized their schedule…allowing them to work a schedule with us.” 

Briar Cliff currently plays all of their home games at Heelan High School’s Memorial Field, so naturally players and coaches are eager to move to a bigger arena.

“I think our guys are excited about it,” said head coach, Tom Rethman, “It provides us to go to a different venue…that a lot of them have not had the opportunity to play in.”   

“It gives us a new home to play football in,” said Steven Trujillo, a junior on the team. “It makes the games more exciting and more people will come to our games.” 

Students however seem to disagree. 

“Part of me thinks it is pretty cool,” said sophomore Kortney Classen, “but you have to drive 30 minutes to get there for a home [game] so that us kind of a downfall.” 

Stephanie Senne, also a sophomore at BCU, agrees with Classen, “I think it’s cool for maybe a special game, but to play home games there is not very ideal.  It does not seem like a real home game due to the team playing on someone else’s field and having to travel.” 

There are rumors that Briar Cliff will have buses to help transport students and staff up to the dome, however nothing has been confirmed.  “We are kind of working it out,” said Gast, “We do not have anything set right yet; these are all kind of just planning stages.”

Gast said that they may try and start with taking two buses to see how many people would want to go.  “It is really a relatively quick and short trip.  It is not like going to Omaha or Sioux Falls.  I think if [the football program] gets success, the trip will become less of an issue.”

Both Gast and Rethman have high hopes that in moving all home games to the dome, they will be able to recruit better players. 

“It is a way to show recruits we are serious,” said Gast.

“Being able to go up and see a game in a dome is a rarity for a lot of schools of our size,” said Rethman.

Briar Cliff aims for one day having their own stadium, but according to Gast playing in the dome is currently the cheaper option.

“I am not going to give exact numbers,” said Gast. “In terms of just looking at the cost, it is quite a bit higher than what we are paying for Memorial Field.”

Gast gave hypothetical numbers and said that the amount it would cost to play at the dome is something that the program can currently manage rather than the millions of dollars it would cost to build. 

Briar Cliff will take on Hastings College on Sept. 22 at the University of South Dakota dome.  Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

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Submitted by kulzerm on Thu, 09/13/2012 - 17:33

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