The ancient BGSU Ice Arena was supposed to get a desperately needed $4 million facelift this spring, but now, those plans are on hold due to a lack of available funding in the schools budget.
This is distressing on a couple different fronts.
1. The arena really needed that renovation money. Who needs showers in the locker rooms when you can just stand under the leaky roof?
2. It continues to put Bowling Green at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of college hockey. Facilities and amenities for players can play a big role in recruiting and Bowling Green can't even tread water while the rich in college hockey continue to get richer. Ferris State ran into the same problem last summer, when they received around $3 million to renovate their arena and that money had to go to upkeep of the arena. It's hard to impress recruits with the basic ability to make ice in your arena when other schools, specifically farther west, continue to build palaces.
The article does mention that Bowling Green tried to raise $4 million to improve amenities for the hockey players, and they came up with just $400,000.
3. There have been rumors--albeit from Andy Baggot's Lunatic Fringe--that Bowling Green is considering dropping their hockey program, and the school deciding not to bother with renovating their aging arena wouldn't seem like much of a vote of confidence. On the flip side, you could say maybe they are waiting to build an awesome new arena, but I kind of doubt that.
It may be worth noting that in January, Dr. Carol Cartwright became president of Bowling Green State University. Prior to coming to Bowling Green, Cartwright was president at Kent State University during the time that KSU dropped their D-I hockey program. The Golden Flashes ended up dropping hockey due to Title IX issues, but the general feeling seemed to be that the school did nothing to try and find a way to make things work and save the hockey program.
Even if it turns out that there is no truth to the rumors about BG cutting their program, and I really hope that is the case, the fact that that rumor sounds so believable is very troubling. The image of the program is at an all-time low.
It's a shame because Bowling Green has such a proud hockey tradition, but--much like MAC counterpart Western Michigan--the school has allowed the program to fall behind the rest of the college hockey world in a futile attempt for football and basketball glory. The football and basketball teams at those schools are still nothing more than early season cannon fodder for major programs, and their hockey programs are slowly turning into the same thing in a sport where they potentially could compete with any school in the country.