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Stadium Rankings in the SAC


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  • Stadium Rankings in the SAC

    I saw in the General Discussion section of the forum that there was a thread comparing different football stadiums and seeing who had the best stadiums in D2? I didn't recall seeing any SAC schools being represented. Also, I'm a UVa-Wise fan, and I am fairly new to the world of the SAC. How would you rate the stadiums in the SAC?

    Here's is UVa-Wise's:

  • #2
    I've been to all them many, many times. Hopefully will get to Wise for a game this year.

    This is not a best to worst ranking, just my thoughts on each one.

    Best game day environment in the SAC and one of the best I've been to in Division II. The stadium needed emergency surgery before the start of this year, but its one of my favorites in all of college football and I've been in about 200 of them. Its very intimate and when packed, its loud. Seats are right on top of the field. You can see well from anywhere in the stadium. Drawbacks are the extremely outdated restroom and concession facilities and the ticket lines get really jammed up 10 minutes before kickoff. If you really appreciate what college football is all about, a game day at LR is as good as it gets in Division II. Tailgating is excellent if you show up early enough to get a spot close to the stadium and you'd better be early because LR draws a good crowd for every home game.

    Beautiful and very up to date. Sight lines from anywhere on the home side are really good, and if you like to see the field from high above, its a great view. The Ken Sparks Center is on the Division I level and the press box is first rate. Eagles generally draw well so the atmosphere is usually very good.

    Very nice stadium. The brick around the stadium and the perimeter gives it a really classy look and helps it fit in with the rest of the campus. Sight lines are good, restroom and concession facilities are better than most stadiums this size. Entry gates on both sides of the stadium is a plus. I love that fans can plop lawn chairs behind the end zones to watch the game. Parking can be tight if there is a big turnout, but attendance is definitely hit or miss at Catawba. I've seen standing room only crowds for conference night games and I've seen a dead stadium for some of the afternoon kickoffs.

    Since installing lights prior to the 2017 season, Wingate plays most of their home games at 6:00. Pregame tailgate scene is excellent and the turnout is usually very good. The big screen sets them apart from others and with the ESPN3 productions of every home game, you get real time video replays, which you won't see at other SAC schools. The grass field is top notch and I love the checkerboard end zones. Rest room facilities are good. Draw backs are inadequate visitor seating, lights are not great and for some reason, the sight lines from the home side just don't appeal to me. But overall, game day is first class at Wingate.

    Tusculum has a beautiful setting for football. Their indoor facilities are probably their best assets but the stadium is nice. I love the brick exterior as you walk up to the main gate. The field is usually in great shape and I like the big logo at mid field. The spacious visitor seating is nice, but the seats on both sides seem far away from the field.

    Mars Hill
    I haven't been to Mars Hill since they opened their new field house but it looks fantastic and probably adds a lot to the facility. Its a nice place to see a game. Parking isn't great, but generally not a problem. Press box is beautiful and the brick facing really pops. Sight lines on the home side are good, but the visiting side is cramped. Restrooms are terrible and the field starting to look a little worn. A game at Mars Hill can be stretched into a weekend of hiking or an evening in Asheville. Both are big bonuses.

    Definitely the most dated of all the SAC facilities. It probably has more negatives then positives, yet its one of my favorite places to see a game. Its just a fun game day every time. The pregame festivities outside the stadium are good. When I roll onto campus an hour or so before kickoff, it has a game day feel of a much larger school. Lots of red all around the stadium and some good cookouts to be found. Turnout is usually good and the atmosphere is very intimate. Seats are right on top of the field, and you can watch from the end zones too. They have some neat traditions. Evening kickoffs are always fun at Setzler.

    The stadium they play in is beautiful. No doubt about it. But college football needs to be played on campus. They are missing out on one of the biggest benefits of having a football program. They have a lot of visitors that have never seen the campus.

    If interested, I have lots of pictures of SAC stadiums in my stadium photo albums.


    • #3
      I don't think Limestone is going to be on campus any time soon - no giant investment in a stadium (although the current soccer/lacrosse/field hockey facility would be adaptable), and the local school district loves the presence of the program on Saturdays at the Reservation as it gives them some very flexible spending money from the rental charges. Also, _plenty_ of parking compared to what is available on campus within an easy walk of the athletic facilities.

      Football is not the only sport played off campus. Track and field practices at the high school as well (outside of throwing sports) and Limestone never has home meets. And the softball team plays at a sports complex close to the interstate (an old Babe Ruth scale field) as money has to be raised to rebuild the softball field on campus.


      • #4
        Totally agree with Red.... Limestone has no plans for an on-campus program and a reason why the program will stay as a second-rate program. Logistical nightmare for the football program. Locker room is in the athletic facility next to the practice fields, but no meeting rooms for position meetings are available. Offense has to meet in the locker room and Defense meets in the middle of campus in academic classrooms. Weight room is on the opposite side of campus when the athletic facility is located.

        The former owner of the NFL Carolina Panthers, Jerry Richardson, donated approximately $5.5 million to the Limestone athletic program which very little went to the football program.

        In my view, Limestone will do just enough to have a football program to bring in 130 students for enrollment purposes, but athletic administration really lacks the knowledge and skills to run a college football program. A lack of desire of having an on-campus stadium is just one example...

        My son is currently on his 4th head football coach during his 5 years at Limestone....