Renovations Push UC Basketball Games to HS Gym | Athletic Business

Renovations Push UC Basketball Games to HS Gym

Ongoing renovations at the University of Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena have displaced the school’s basketball teams, forcing the Bearcats to hold court in various other local venues.

The men’s team will be playing at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena, which has seating for more than 9,000 spectators. Meanwhile, the women’s team is scheduled to appear at St. Ursula Academy in Walnut Hills. The high school gym is able to accommodate roughly 1,000 fans.

Some critics of this discrepancy in venue size have voiced concerns over the fairness of this arrangement, wondering whether the situation fully complies with Title IX requirements.

Layne Rumpke, a student at University of Cincinnati, told WLWT5, "I don't think that's fair. I think the women should get an equal playing size as the men, and they should be treated to the same standards as the men are being treated."

Another fan said it “just makes sense” for both teams to play at the same arena. However, UC athletic director Mike Bohn explained that the arrangements were made based on scheduling opportunities at the respective venues.

“Without the flexibility of being first in line on any facility and scheduling,” said Bohn, “that really eliminates options for us. In the end, it comes down to creating a great experience for our student-athletes to be able to compete and grow and know they’re coming home to a great facility.”

Others have argued that the teams simply attract different-sized crowds. UC student Shelby Leshnack told WLWT5 that a smaller venue for women’s basketball “will make it feel fuller and more exciting. I know with Fifth Third, half the arena is sometimes full,” she said, “and it can feel a little empty in there. So, I think it will help."

Officials at St. Ursula have assured the critics that their facility is NCAA compliant, featuring a 94-foot, college level gym floor instead of a standard high school 84-foot floor.

The $87 million renovation to the Bearcats home arena is not expected to be complete until October 2018.

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