Earlier this week, Northwestern announced that they would be removing the tarps they installed last year. Instead, they'd be doing something a little bit different. That's right. Instead of a massive purple sign proclaiming their greatness, they will have an army of potted plants. It will be just like that time you played football in a Home Depot parking lot, ducking swiftly through the shrubs to break tackles. Or maybe they just want to look like a low-rent version of Georgia.
Personally, I think that's incredibly more embarrassing than the camera panning out over a massive section of empty seats. But I'm not an athletic director. Empty stadiums suck. It's not fun for the fans, it's not fun for the players, and it's not fun for the schools' bottom lines. But pretending it's not empty by putting down a tarp or tiny yew plants? That looks even worse. Which is why I love what Purdue announced they'll be doing today.
Purdue was terrible last year. They're probably going to be terrible again this year. That's never good for student interest. But telling students they can watch the trainwreck for free? And rewarding those that already bought tickets with free admission to later games? That's fantastic. The football will likely still be awful, but at least there will be fans in the stands. That will look much, much better. And there's always the benefit of building good will with the students. There will be people angry with this decision, but those people would get angry about anything and thus matter less. Good job, Purdue. Please remain a complete and utter tire fire on the field though.