Pitt getting $1 million replay board
1997 Scripps Howard
(July 30, 1997) -- Some of the football at Pitt Stadium the past few seasons has been hard to watch once, let alone twice.
So an instant replay scoreboard might seem like unnecessary roughness. But the University of Pittsburgh says the board it will install atop the 56,000-seat stadium this fall will make the games more exciting for fans and, possibly, better attended.
The $1 million screen, dubbed "PantherVision," will show every play -- even close calls -- using video feed from a crew and producer that will be hired for each game. It should be ready for the Aug. 30 home opener against Southwestern Louisiana.
"As far as I know, this is the only on-campus venue in the east that will have an instant replay board," Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson said. "It creates an air of excitement. People who have the instant replay boards all will tell you it's the single greatest fan amenity that they have ever put in their stadiums."
Use of video boards is unusual in college stadiums, although several have them, including Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin, Kansas State and Nebraska, where Pederson last worked. Some schools that play in professional stadiums have them.
The NCAA's football rules committee would have no objection to Pitt's new board unless "they start singling out controversial plays and running them over and over again," spokesman Wally Renfro said.
Pederson said that won't happen: "We're going to show it one time, regardless of whether it's a touchdown or a controversial play."
The new display, 17 by 23 feet, was made in Japan and purchased from Optic North America of San Francisco, and will be flown in next month. It uses light emitting diode technology that Pitt says is among the finest of its kind to be installed in a collegiate stadium.
"This is like sitting in your living room and and watching the replays," Pederson said.
Last year, Pitt's 4-7 record was a factor in limiting its attendance to 30,795, down from 33,175 in 1995.
The new screen will replace the monitor that is part of the scoreboard over the stadium's north end zone. The four-camera-crew will be able to capture candid shots of fans.
Pitt tested two kinds of screens in the stadium before administrators gave their blessing. The purchase was approved yesterday by a committee of the school's trustees. Pitt will need $1,055,000 to buy the board and another $165,000 for operating expenses.
Of those costs, $500,000 will come from advertising space purchased on the screen, another $500,000 will come from revenue from an alumni association credit card, and the remainder will come from a $362,000 loan from a campus-wide capital fund used for building improvements and equipment purchases.
Pederson said Pitt already has begun lining up advertising revenue to allow it to repay the loan within a few years.
The athletic department got the loan at a time when departments across campus are being told they should be able to support their own new academic initiatives.
Though the athletic department in recent years has lost money, it has the potential to bring in enough revenue to justify the loan, said Gordon MacLeod, president of the faculty senate. "The issue is ... will it be a money-making proposition or a money-losing proposition?"
Attilio Favorini, a Pitt theater professor whose Shakespeare Festival was discontinued in 1995, said he is not aware of any great faculty or student outcry for instant replay. Even if it pays for itself, the video board, he said, "is another sign of the corporatization of the university."
By Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
PITT STADIUM BEING SOLD OFF PIECE BY PIECE
September 9, 1999
Copyright 1999 MediaVentures
This is the last year for the University of Pittsburgh's Pitt Stadium and school officials are hoping to raise money by selling off parts of the venue. Among the items for sale are 40 commemorative bricks at $75 each, gate entrance doors for $1,200 or restroom doors for $150, restroom stalls for $450, 129 lockers from the original locker room at $1,200, seats from the Chancellor's Box at $300 each and turnstiles for $500.
Pitt Stadium gets Irish Wake
Panters send off 74-year-old home by beating Notre Dame.
Pittsburgh (AP) - November 21, 1999 - In the final game - and final upset - in Pitt Stadium's 74-year history, it turned out the only significant damage was done to Notre Dame's secondary.
John Turman threw two touchdown passes to Antonio Bryant and Kevan Barlow scored twice as Pitt upset favored Notre Dame, 37-27, Saturday in the last game before the Panthers' campus stadium is torn down.
Hundreds of fans in the more-than-capacity crowd of 60,190 brought down the goal posts after Jarious Jackson threw incomplete into the end zone on fourth down for Notre Dame (5-5), and the officials waved off the final nine seconds. Dozens of security guards kept the stadium damage to a minimum.
"I told the team we could play above and beyond what we've played, and we did," safety D.J. Dinkins said. "We wanted to go out with a bang and play like champions."
Turman, benched more than a month ago, threw for 231 yards, almost exclusively to Latef Grim and Bryant as the Panthers (5-5) positioned themselves for a possible bowl bid if they beat West Virginia on November 27.
"I'm embarrassed for our football team," said Irish coach Bob Davie, who began his coaching career as a Pitt graduate assistant in 1977. "I hate to talk and make too strong a statement, but I'm embarrassed."
Pitt will play next season in Three Rivers Stadium, then shift to the new Steelers stadium in 2001. Pitt Stadium will be replaced by a new basketball arena and student housing.
On September 20, 2006 Charles William Crowl wrote: In the 1940's, my Boy Scout Troop operated the Scoreboard at Pitt Stadium in Oakland (a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA).
Our Scoutmaster had somehow arranged for our Troop #100, in East Liberty, to perform these duties as our "Good Turn". We were each given two Streetcar tokens, every game we worked, and we packed our own sack lunches.
The Scoreboard was a large wooden structure above the end wall of the Stadium. There was a narrow wooden deck on the back of it, and a wooden railing to keep us from crashing to the street far below. We gained access to the deck via a wooden ladder inside the Stadium wall, behind the last seating row of the End Zone.
The Scoreboard contained the Game Clock and had 1 1/2 inch high slots cut across beneath the printed statistics -- YDS TO GO, PLAY BY and QUARTER. Our job was to insert appropriately numbered metal plates into the slots, for the spectators to read at the end of each play. These painted plates were stored, hanging on a bar behind us. Our Scoutmaster & another Senior Scout, both dressed in white sweat suits were on the Field. They would identify the credited Player and Yards to Go, and 'send' the numbers with arm signals, similar to Semaphore Code. Two of our Scouts sat on the edge of the Scoreboard with binoculars, 'reading' those arm signals and translating them to us for further action. We would remove the old plates as the players lined up. Then we could watch the play through the slits and await our next instructions. Boy, did we relish Half-Time!
I worked about 3 Seasons in the mid-forties.