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ASU Sun Devils Athletics To Build New Football Stadium, Pursue Corporate Structure?

Will this stadium soon be torn down for a bigger and better SDS?  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Will this stadium soon be torn down for a bigger and better SDS? (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Sun Devils site at Rivals has released a very interesting story, implying that the ASU athletic department will hire a Chief Operating Officer who will oversee the development of a new Sun Devil Stadium, among other fundraising projects.

The information in the article has been verified by ASU spokesperson Virgil Renzulli. Here's more from the article:

"There is a major need for this type of position at Arizona State at this specific time and that's what Dr. Crow believed after looking at this very carefully," said ASU spokesperson Virgil Renzulli. "You have the new Pac-12 media rights deal, the creation of a stadium district, and a numerous other challenges all coming together at the same time.

"What's going to happen with athletics facilities, you have a stadium redevelopment that is going to cost upwards of several hundred million dollars. So you want somebody who is tasked with these things specifically."

Lisa Love will remain in her position as Vice President of Athletics and work alongside Patterson, with a new board of senior administrators created to, along with Crow, provide redress in the event of strategic differences of opinion, according to one source.

The biggest part of this whole scenario includes the sale (or lease) of Karsten Golf Course land to help pay for this undertaking:

ASU is prepared to lease much of the land currently occupied by Karsten Golf Course in order to fund its stadium and athletics district plans, according to one source. The ideal goal is to play several more season at Sun Devil Stadium before knocking it down and rebuilding it in its current location, with one season played at either Chase Field in Phoenix or University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale during construction of the new venue.

Well, I was almost right about this one, calling that SDS was going to need to be replaced and Karsten could be involved:

But think of all the problems at Sun Devil Stadium -- the cracks in the concrete, the ancient bench seating, the horrible bathroom facilities. If you fix all of those problems, you're running up a huge bill. The only thing standing in the way of a new stadium is the lack of space for it to be built.

There are options, however. I'm not sure how it could go down, but if ASU was able to "find" land to build on, such as Karsten golf course, then it would be feasible. Again, all of that relies on funding, availability of land, and other factors, such as need.

If anything needs an upgrade, though, it's Sun Devil Stadium. Urinal troughs are so 1960's.

What does this all mean for the Devils?

I'm interested to see what the hiring of Steve Patterson will do for ASU. Clearly, Michael Crow sees now as the perfect time to expand the Sun Devils brand, with new jerseys and a new logo already on the market.

Patterson was able to take a consulting job with Crow and turn it into a COO position -- that is very impressive and implies that he brought a lot of unique ideas to the table. Will they be able to work in a college athletics department? That much remains to be seen.

From what I understand, this will be the first attempt in sports history to run an AD like a corporation. While it could be very successful, it could also be a huge departure from what makes college sports so great -- the unique connection between students, alumni, players, and identity. 

Hopefully this improves on the existing formula and does not tear it down. We've already moved away from the traditional "college" environment (fraternities will be gone, commuter college, etc), and the expectation for Patterson and Crow will be for them to be mindful of tradition at some point in this movement.