Arena football: the end of parking problems

Joe Lord

The biggest complaint on the Hill is parking. It was when I was a freshman four years ago, and it probably will be when I graduate four years from now.

But the university is facing other problems too, like lagging attendance at football games.

Sure, students and alumni come out in droves for the first couple of games, but they cower inside as soon as the weather turns a bit chilly.

Worse yet, when those alumni come to campus, they take the parking spots we pay $65 to flop our cars in. It’s absolutely absurd.

But there’s a solution for both problems – a way to kill two birds with one stone.

I planned on waiting for an official press conference to release my plan, but I can’t contain myself any longer.

Here’s the solution for both problems.

Arena football.

Western and Bowling Green are spending tons of funds to renovate Diddle Arena.

But aside from the basketball teams and the Kentucky High School Girl’s Sweet Sixteen, what other tenants will call the newly-luxury boxed building home?

The Arena Football League has been a trendsetter in sports for years.They’ve even spawned a feeder league, the AFL2, which has a franchise in Louisville.

No longer will Hilltopper football fans avoid games due to below-70 degree weather. Besides, attendance of 5,000 will be outstanding in the much smaller Diddle Arena.

Arena football games will be more exciting than the standard American football contests. Western’s 31-7 victory Saturday over Southwest Missouri State might be considered high scoring to some of the team’s faithful, but the arena football Hilltoppers could expect to score at least 50 points per game.

Fans love high-scoring affairs, and this is just a way to ensure that happens.

I even ran my groundbreaking idea across Athletics Director Wood Selig yesterday, but his response was, at best, tepid.

“Absolutely no chance,” he said.

Famous last words of a non-believer.

So I know what you’re going to say – no other colleges play arena football. I didn’t say there weren’t kinks.

But the NCAA has an entire league of football teams who could gain from converting their gridiron for indoor use.

All of Division I-AA.

What these schools need is exposure. Sure, there’s tradition at stake, but do teams like Western, Eastern and Northeast Southwest Delaware State want to be on ESPN2 or not?

While they’ll never compete with Florida, Nebraska and Notre Dame for network airtime, this is still a way for those small guys to set themselves apart from the big schools.

They won’t be little brother anymore, but a whole new sport.

And exposure will come.

Your dad might not know who won the Division I-AA championship last year, but he’s sure to remember who won the college arena football championship – even if it’s because Stuart Scott ridiculed the winner on SportsCenter.

That could be Jack Harbaugh holding the championship trophy high over his head in Diddle Arena.

That could be us waiting to tear down those championship goal posts without getting frost bite.

With the football team as the newest Diddle Arena resident, Smith Stadium could be turned into a new parking structure.

We could use money generated by the arena football team – because it’s sure to become a cash cow – to build our new tribute to simplified parking.

The switch to arena football will be worth it, even if Scott laughs at us.

It’s better to be ridiculed than ignored.

Joseph Lord is a junior print journalism major from Louisville.