Question: Will Yulman Stadium be fan friendly?
Forty years have passed since Tulane opened a college football season on campus.
In 1974, it was supposed to be against Ole Miss. The build-up to the game was substantial, since Tulane was coming off a nine-win season that included a win over LSU.
What do I remember about that night? David Falgoust’s 9-yard field goal with 15 seconds left rescued the Green Wave in a 17-16 win over the USL Ragin’ Cajuns. Hurricane Carmen had caused postponement of the Ole Miss game until late November.
The Cajuns were backed by a great crowd that night. They were going crazy over a Mexican-born soccer style kicker. Rafael Septien made field goals of 50, 49 and 33 yards.
I also remember that I parked at my aunt and uncle’s house on Clara Street, just off Nashville. Back then, Tulane football was a neighborhood experience. Cars lined the streets alongside the stadium, including Calhoun, Willow and State. Tulane is hoping to recreate that atmosphere with its new on-campus Yulman Stadium.
So, as college football returns Uptown, I have some questions:
Will the ticket-buying public park miles away from the stadium and take shuttles to campus? In its packet to season-ticket holders, Tulane listed the Superdome and Ochsner Hospital Jefferson as park and shuttle locations. What if you are a family of four who wants to leave the game in the third quarter? How long do you have to wait for the shuttle?
How strictly will Tulane enforce the no on-street parking zone around the stadium? Tow trucks will be on hand to identify potential violators. What happens when residents get their cars towed?
If going back on campus is supposed to be a great home-field advantage, why is the Tulane team being positioned on the East sideline, looking into the sun?
Can you schedule teams like Ole Miss or Mississippi State to play in a 25,000-seat stadium (a guess on the number)? Let me answer that. No.
Would a pocket passer like Tanner Lee rather play outside in the heat or indoors in perfect conditions in the Superdome?
If Tulane has great success in football and gets an invite to the ACC or Big 12, can you play Oklahoma or Texas at Yulman Stadium? The answer, of course, is no.
At Tulane’s preseason media day, head coach Curtis Johnson called the Superdome a “pro” stadium. Johnson certainly is entitled to his opinion. But, again, I remember the late ’70s, when as a Loyola student I sat in the terrace to watch Tulane football.
Back then, the Green Wave was playing a national schedule that included LSU, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Kentucky and Maryland.
And, by the way, over the last 10 years, Tulane’s record at home is 24-39. That is much better than an 11-46 road mark in the same span.
There are many who are projecting a football panacea Uptown. While I don’t agree, I think we can all agree that the ticket-buying public will decide.