While Purdue head coach Danny Hope called the decision to move the Black and Gold spring game indoors a “no-brainer,” students and alumni were not so happy about the decision.
Due to the rainy weather, the football coaching staff and athletic department decided to move the annual spring game inside. The game was open to recruits, former Purdue players and the media.
Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke, who has started an initiative to improve student attendance, had planned a weekend full of events to energize the student body only to be thwarted by weather.
John Stucker, a junior in the College of Engineering, said that not permitting fans to watch the game undermined the athletic department’s effort to fill the student sections.
”I think it really hurts our football program, especially when Morgan Burke is trying to get people to start coming to games,” Stucker said. “When they pull something like this, where they didn’t plan ahead, I feel that really aggravates the fan base.”
Ethan Voss, a freshman in the School of Management, said the decision to cancel the spring game was something that could potentially upset a fan base that has had declining attendance for years.
”I see the upside to moving the game indoors, with the field being wet,” Voss said. “You don’t want to risk injury for an inter-squad scrimmage but I think with a struggling fan base, it would have been nice to reschedule if possible, if not move it back later in the afternoon. I know there was a light rain around one o’clock and that was the start, but I would’ve figured with the fields covered up, I would say around four or five in the afternoon, the game would have been able to have been played.”
Travis Miller, a Purdue blogger for the SB Nation site Hammer and Rails and 2002 graduate, said he disagreed with the decision to move the game inside.
”I would have gone ahead and played it at Ross-Ade, because you can never control the weather during the season and it is good to get some practice in poor weather conditions,” Miller said. “I think the only thing that gives a pause was the risk of injury.”
Miller traveled from his home in Indianapolis to West Lafayette for the game along with many other alumni and said that Purdue athletics could have handled the situation better by using social media and monitoring weather reports to possibly push the game back.
Brendon Dubberly, a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts, said that the decision of the athletic department to move the game was unfortunate.
”I was really disappointed,” Dubberly said. “It is really disappointing to see them do that because so many alumni come so far to see that game. I really feel they have the right to because they paid so much to our university to see the team. They were left out and hung to dry.”
Voss went on to say that the spring football weekend was one of the best of the year at Purdue.
”You’re never going to please everybody,” Voss said. “But the spring game with Spring Fest going on; Grand Prix coming up and the chance to attend free events with the family ó it would have been great chance to catch some Boiler football.”