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You’re Nuts: What could be done to improve the game day atmosphere at the Schott?

It’s no secret the Schott isn’t an ideal college hoops venue. Here’s how we would improve it, if we had the choice.

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Don’t look now, but we’re more than halfway through the college basketball offseason. Before too long we’ll be back on the corner of Olentangy River Road and Lane Ave., cheering on Roddy Gayle, Bruce Thornton, and Zed Key.

Last week, we debated what the best rivalry in college basketball was. Justin went with the classic Carolina-Duke rivalry, while Connor stayed local and chose the Crosstown Shootout — Xavier vs Cincinnati.

67% of people voted with Justin. 19% of the people voted for “something else.” And the final 14% voted for Connor and the Crosstown Shootout.

After 110 weeks:

Connor- 47
Justin- 47
Other- 12

(There have been four ties)

This week, we’re talking about the Jerome Schottenstein Center. Ohio State fans have no shortage of opinions on the cavernous basketball arena that was built in 1998. This week, we each picked one thing that we think could help improve the atmosphere at the Schott.

Will these changes ever be made? Probably not. But when you’re one of the worst home court advantages in the Big Ten, they’re worth considering.

Today’s Question: What could be done to improve the game day atmosphere at the Schott?

Connor: Expand the Buckeye Nuthouse around the court

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 20 Eastern Michigan at Michigan State Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you want to create a more rowdy home environment that visiting teams dread sitting through, put more students behind them and fewer stuffy seniors who refuse to stand and/or shout.

With the Schott holding the most seats in the Big Ten (18,809), it can be difficult to create a loud, racous environment that visiting teams hate experiencing. The Buckeye Nuthouse holds between 800-1000 students during any given game, but it only takes up half of the lower sections of the bowl. Once the four designated sections are filled with students, the overflow is typically sent to the upper level of the bowl — where they have little impact on how loud the arena gets since they’re three miles away.

If Ohio State valued top-tier atmosphere over everything else, they would push back some of the season ticket holders that sit on the opposite side of the benches and replace those front sections with additional student seating, as well as the section behind both baskets. This would mean there’s no spot on the floor where a team could inbound the ball without having students behind them, and there wouldn’t be any point in the game where the visiting team could peacefully shoot free throws without students behind the backboard.

Michigan State does something similar with the Izzone with great results — they are one of the best student sections in the country, and the section wraps all the way around the court. Season ticket holders sit behind them, without complaint (or with complaint, but who cares).

The problem — obviously — is the money. Season tickets in the 200-level start around $590 per season. Season tickets closer to the court are much more more. Ohio State wants the best atmosphere possible, but only within reason because the money the season ticket holders pay is very important too. To this point, that money is more important to them than the atmosphere because, despite the Nuthouse selling out very quickly each season, the section has not been expanded.

Michigan State eventually prioritized the student atmosphere over the money and gave the entire first several rows to the students. Chris Holtmann has never won in East Lansing — I think the first thing has a big hand in the second.

Justin: Better home games

If I am being honest, this one feels simple. If you want the people to come, give them something to come for. Schedule better non-conference games. Everyone remembers the atmosphere in December of 2021 when the No. 1 team in the country, The Duke Blue Devils, came to Columbus during Coach K’s retirement tour.

If you don’t remember, here is a refresher.

Now obviously this game was helped by Ohio State winning, but the atmosphere was great from day one.

And you don’t have too play the top team who is also the most recognizable brand in the country every year to help the ticket sales and whatnot, but you have to be better than 2022-23. Here were the home non-conference games last season: Robert Morris, Charleston Southern, Eastern Illinois, St. Francis (PA), Maine and Alabama A&M.

Not only do none of those teams illicit any type of fan reaction, but the Buckeyes went 6-0 in those games and won by an average of over 31 points per game. That isn’t incredibly captivating basketball.

This will be better in 2023-24 as the Buckeyes second game is against Texas A&M, who will be a top 15-20 team in the country. Just keep scheduling home and homes with solid programs. It is only a benefit to play good teams in this sport.


Which of these would help improve the atmosphere at the Schott more?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Expand the Buckeye Nuthouse (Connor)
    (42 votes)
  • 14%
    Better home games (Justin)
    (7 votes)
49 votes total Vote Now