by Scott Olson. Reprinted with permission of IBJ Corp., IBJ.com, copyright 2012.
The University of Indianapolis on the south side of the city is receiving a slew of attention from the Super Bowl that no amount of advertising could buy. The National Football Conference champion New York Giants are practicing on the campus of the 5,500-student private college, which is receiving quite a bit of coverage from Big Apple media. UIndy has received at least 30 mentions on New York City television since Wednesday [Feb. 1], when the team arrived on campus, university spokesman Scott Hall said. A Google News search of the college produces 4,840 results.
For UIndy President Beverley Pitts, the additional attention is a welcome change for a university that typically keeps a pretty low profile.
“Moments like this don’t come along very often,” she said. “We’re enjoying every bit of it.”
The practices are closed to the public, and the university is not publicizing the team’s daily arrival and departure times. Crowds have yet to disrupt campus traffic or activities, but that could change on Friday [Feb. 3] as more New York fans arrive in Indianapolis. UIndy is hosting the Giants because of its new domed practice facility that opened in the fall. The university had planned to build the facility anyway. But the National Football League supplied additional funding to make the dome large enough to accommodate a full-size football field.
Original plans called for the structure to be built at Arsenal Tech High School on the near-east side, as part of a larger neighborhood revitalization project. But Super Bowl Host Committee members chose to team with UIndy, largely because of its existing plan to build a multi-purpose sports facility. The decision has translated into attention that money can’t buy, Hall said.
“[Giants coach] Tom Coughlin has taken the opportunity to say how nice the facility and the campus are, and how much they appreciate the staff and hospitality that we’ve shown,” he said.
Students have strung banners and posters throughout the campus to show that UIndy has adopted the Giants as its team, Pitts said. The university could see an increase in student applications, though it cannot accommodate a surge in enrollment. UIndy surpassed its goal of 5,000 students during the 2009–10 academic year and is building a 200-student residence hall that should be finished in the fall. More applications, though, could lead to an even higher-quality student, Pitts said.
“I know it will lead to more interest,” she said, “especially outside of Indianapolis and the Indiana area.”
The American Football Conference champion New England Patriots are practicing at the Colts complex on West 56th Street. —IBJ