Pack Pride's Take: The PNC Arena Debate

There has been much talk recently about the scheduling at PNC Arena and most of it seems to be coming from the Carolina Hurricanes camp.

In fact, NC State has been surprisingly quiet on the subject.

If you study all of the comments that have been made and reported in the media, it seems that NC State is being ridiculed for attempting to look out for NC State first and foremost... and doing so within the scope of a contract that has long been in place.

The biggest dispute isn't about dates or times or potential fines but instead, power.

In a recent article in the Triangle Business Journal, it was reported that "Gale Force Holdings, which owns the Hurricanes and operates the arena for concerts and other events, worked with the Atlantic Coast Conference in previous years to coordinate schedules."

The ACC believed Gale Force Holdings had scheduling priority over NC State and were never told otherwise by the previous administration. Because of this, NC State wasn't involved with the scheduling, even though they had priority to have available all potential dates that could be beneficial for both programs.

It appears that the only change now is that NC State is in charge of submitting all possible dates, instead of an entity that may not be looking out for the best interest of the Wolfpack. It's probably safe to say that they likely weren't.

That is what has angered Gale Force and Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford because no other major changes have been reported. The ACC football schedule was released around the same time as last year and the basketball schedule will once again be released in late summer.

The problem for the Hurricanes is that they must submit their dates to the NHL before the Wolfpack's schedule is released in August, which remains the case.

In WRAL's report on the situation, Rutherford stated that, "NC State stakes claim to 28 dates while only playing "six to seven" football games. He said NC State claims 42 of 92 dates between October and January despite playing only "eight potential home games."

"In all, Rutherford states that NC State has staked claim to 129 of 214 calendar days, including 26 of 30 days in November, for a combined total of 23 Wolfpack sporting events."

First of all, who knows if those numbers are even accurate? No one from NC State has confirmed those dates were claimed.

Again, NC State seems to be doing what is best for NC State and following the contract that states they have scheduling priority.

To make sure that they are an option for attractive TV games and primetime slots, NC State would need to block a set of dates that could potentially be needed for a Wolfpack game. NC State must reserve those dates until they know what days they are actually playing. Once they get the outline of the schedule from the ACC (road games vs. home games), they would be able to release open dates to PNC Arena for other scheduling events.

For instance, at the beginning of football season NC State might reserve every Thursday and Saturday of each week, along with Thursday through Monday of Labor day weekend from the end of August until the end of November to have available all potential scheduling dates.

Once they find out what dates will be road games, they can then release those dates to PNC Arena. Once they receive the entire schedule, they can release all other dates to PNC Arena.

Rutherford stated that NC State would claim 28 dates while only playing "six or seven" football games. Well, if they reserve every Thursday and Saturday from late August to the end of November, and then you add in Labor Day weekend, that would equal roughly 28-30 potential scheduling dates.

Shouldn't NC State claim those dates until they know for sure when they will be playing? Would State fans be happy if they gave up a potential Thursday night ESPN game before ESPN decided which games they were going to televise?

It's the same situation with basketball.

There is a period of time when you can release your non-conference dates because you set those yourself, but until the ACC gives the possible home and away dates, NC State would be harming the program by not reserving all potential dates for games and practice time.

Remember two years ago when NC State played a late Thursday night game at Duke and had to turn around and host Florida State at noon on Saturday? That may not have necessarily been the result of this scheduling situation, but it is certainly a potential problem.

The ACC plays league games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday of each week during the conference season, so NC State must hold those dates until they know if they are going to be home or away and until TV networks pick up those games.

What if ESPN has an open Wednesday night slot but you only kept Thursday in that week? NC State wouldn't be able to receive that game at home.

At the end of the day, NC State must look out for the Wolfpack. It now seems that the athletics department is back dealing directly with the ACC to make sure that is the case.

Perhaps a question that should be asked is how many dates was Gale Force Holdings actually reserving for NC State with the ACC in previous seasons and were those dates beneficial to the Wolfpack or the Hurricanes?

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