What the Los Angeles Dodgers' court case can teach college football

On Major League Baseball's opening day in 2011, San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was attacked by two Los Angeles Dodgers fans outside Dodger Stadium and beaten within an inch of his life. In the three painful years that followed, Stow has required constant (and incredibly expensive) medical care and, as such, his family has pursued a lawsuit against his two attackers, the Dodgers and their then-owner, Frank McCourt. Stow, a paramedic at the time and the father of two, will continue to require round-the-clock medical assistance for the rest of his life.

On Wednesday, a California court awarded Stow nearly $18 million, of which the Dodgers must pay nearly $14 million. The Los Angeles Times also notes that the team "is on the hook to shoulder all of his past and future medical expenses and lost earnings." 

Stow's attorney hammered the Dodgers' lack of spending on security, alleging that money that should have otherwise been funneled to security was instead used to fund McCourt's lavish lifestyle. Attorney Thomas Girardi said that the Dodgers spent 62 cents per fan on security. "The Dodgers' own pocket book prevented them from providing proper security," he said. Stow's legal team also said his party had been taunted continuously throughout the game by assailants Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood (who are now serving time for their part in the incident), and Stow was then blinsided in a dimly-lit parking lot, none of which was noticed by security. The team countered by saying security for its 2011 opener was the highest in team history. 

In the end, the court sided with Stow. 

This horrific tragedy should serve, if it hasn't already, for a wake-up call for stadium operations people in college football. The situations aren't identical, as many more college football attendees typical park off of university-controlled areas compared with professional baseball, but few sports are as emotionally-charged, and thus vulnerable to a similar situation, as college football. Security isn't a budget item to be scrimped on. 

Every fan deserves a safe experience inside and outside the stadium, no matter what colors they happen to wear. Not that any stadium operations professionals weren't already working diligently toward that end, but, tragically, Stow will spend the rest of his days as a living reminder of what happens when a team and venue don't hold up their end of the bargain.

Video: Derek Mason's locker room speech game is on point

Vanderbilt had some of the best inside-the-locker-room videos in all of college football under James Franklin's staff. Tradition doesn't graduate, and it doesn't take new jobs, either. 

He has yet to coach his first game as a head coach, but Derek Mason has the locker room speech ability of a 10-year veteran. The 'Dores won't suffer a drop off in that all-important category this fall. This video highlighting Vanderbilt's new coaching staff proves that. 

Photos: Nothing says party like Purdue football, right?

Update from Scott - I read Zach's article below and have a completely different take on this. Read Zach's thoughts below and then see my thoughts in green following the article.

Looking back on it, we all know the exact moment we know Facebook had moved from trend-of-the-young-person to something that was here to stay. It was when you opened up your email and saw that your mom had sent you a friend request.

We've reached a similar point in the party plaza era of the in-person football experience. Purdue has announced plans for its own party plaza to debut this fall. "Fans who are young and young at heart should find the new Ross-Ade Stadium South End Zone Patio to be a sensational addition to their Purdue football game-day experience," the official announcement reads

Kansas pioneered the luxury end zone seating trend back in 2008, and the Jacksonville Jaguars pushed it to its zenith this summer by installing poolside cabanas in their north end zones, and now it moves to the festive atmosphere of Midwestern noon kickoffs.

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Jags stadium

Getting fans to games is hard these days, especially when the promise of going home with a victory is tenuous at best. Transforming an area of the stadium that was hard to fill in the first place into a luxury experience is smart business. 

Ross-Ade Stadium's South End Zone will be something of an extended tailgating experience for season-ticket olders and students who have purchased a VIP card. Gates open 90 minutes before kickoff and will remain that way throughout the game. 

"Anchored by a 3,200-square-foot high-peak tent, the space will also feature several pergolas and an array of patio-style furniture, including tables with umbrellas. Fans will be able to purchase typical tailgate food and beverage, including beer and wine. Six 46-inch televisions will be mounted throughout," the announcement says.

Purdue says the plaza is a temporary solution as the university searches for a more permanent decision on what to do with its south end zone seating area. The Boilermakers knocked out approximately 6,100 seats "in order to avoid necessary maintenance to the bleachers." The South End Zone Plaza holds a maximum capacity of 1,500. 

Purdue ranked 56th nationally in terms of attendance by percent of capacity, filling 78.3 percent of Ross Ade Stadium for its seven home games. Overall attendance jumped by 5,365 fans per game in Darrell Hazell's first season, growing from 43,588 to 48,953. 


Purdue party 2

Purdue party 3

Purdue party 4

Update from Scott - So I see this as a very smart idea from Purdue's administration. They weren't consistently filling the stadium to capacity so they looked at what they could do to improve the overall gameday experience. They eliminated some lower value / revenue end zone seating and replaced it with a high value / revenue unique experience that I think fans will truly enjoy. This is the type of "upgrade" that fans are willing to pay for and I think Purdue fans will want to keep and enhance this plaza going forward.

Rendering: Buffalo's new turf has a heavy New York flavor

Chances are, when you think of the University of Buffalo, you don't add the proper "State University of New York" in front of the University name.

Well Buffalo's new stadium design is aiming to change that, starting with a heavy New York influence.

The Bulls will open up the season on the new turf on August 30th against Duquesne, followed by back to back home contests against Baylor and Norfolk State two weeks later. The MAC home slate includes visits from Miami (OH), Central Michigan, Akron, and Kent State.

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