by Darren Squillace ’19
Mother Nature and sports have not always had the best of relationships. When we think about weather conditions altering or getting in the way of a game, we usually think of delays and postponements due to rain during baseball, or the frigid and icy conditions of a December football game. What does not ever come to mind is a basketball game being cancelled due to weather. How could a sport played in an indoor arena ever be cancelled? Last Wednesday, in Friartown, we got the answer.
Fans booed and jeered as the announcement came over the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center PA system that the Men’s Basketball game versus Seton Hall University would be postponed until further notice due to wet floor conditions. There were just over 13 minutes left to play, which left fans wondering how such a situation was even possible. Head Athletic Director Bob Driscoll brought light to the situation by answering some questions.
As many had believed, Driscoll clarified that the leaking was due to condensation from the ice below the court. It was an unseasonably warm day, which caused more condensation than usual. Still, many of us are aware that like the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center, arenas like the TD Garden also house both a basketball and hockey team and have never had a situation quite like this arise.
As Driscoll explained, the difference between the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center and a professional-level arena is that many of them have dehumidification systems that turn on when the temperature rises to a certain level.
The Dunkin‘ Donuts Center does not have this amenity, and as a result, there needed to be different measures taken to try and prevent what happened. For example, the indoor temperature was set at 59°F to combat the warmer weather outside before being set back to its normal temperature as fans began to arrive at the arena.
While the effort to prevent the leaking from happening was not successful, Driscoll mentioned that this important event has prompted the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center to take action to prevent future events like this. A statement released by the Dunkin‘ Donuts Center states, “We have met with building management and mechanical engineers today to discuss plans to improve court conditions and prevent this from happening again. Our capital-improvement plan already includes a number of measures that should address the problem, including the installation in the coming months of a fully-automated energy management system.”
One of the other obvious questions to be answered after this game got postponed was, what happens to everyone who bought their tickets? The solution, according to Driscoll, was to credit season ticket holders their money back for their tickets towards a game next season. While this solution did not please many fans, Driscoll believed it was the only rational thing to do with just one regular season game left for the Friars.
At a typical weekday home game like the one against Seton Hall last week, Driscoll noted that they typically take in around $175,000 in ticket sales. Much of that will be going back to the fans as a result of this mishap, so this was a more than generous offer, according to Driscoll.
As the Head Athletic Director of a passionate fanbase, Driscoll certainly heard his share of complaints regarding both the ticket situation and the fact that non-student fans were not allowed to watch the conclusion of the game at Alumni Hall the following afternoon. As the Head Athletic Director for over 15 years, Driscoll said that this criticism is something he has not only become used to but even come to embrace.
The passionate fans, he believes, make his job more exciting and helps our team bring as much energy as they do to the court every night. Driscoll, a passionate fan himself, ended his discussion of the event with a mighty “GO FRIARS!”