A feasibility study to gauge interest and capacity for a fundraising campaign to benefit the Bowling
Green Falcon hockey program and the Bowling Green State University Ice Arena was announced today in a
press release by school president Dr. Carol Cartwright.
The university has hired Bentz Whaley Flessner, a national fundraising consulting firm, to assess the
potential for funding that could be raised by a campaign.
The decision is based on the preliminary work of the two committees that were formed in March to study
the future of the arena and the BGSU athletics department.
The university announced earlier this year the hockey program is guaranteed to last only through next
The school is facing a deficit of $6 million to $10 million in its next budget, and the athletics
department is trying to cut $500,000 to $1 million out of a budget that was approximately $16 million
The Falcons ? who won the NCAA hockey championship in 1984 and had one of the country?s best programs
during the mid to late 1970s, and 1980s ? have fallen on hard times since.
BG has posted just four winning records since 1990 and has finished last in the Central Collegiate Hockey
Association in three of the last four seasons.
And the arena has become one of the worst in college hockey programs as many other programs have upgraded
or built new facilities.
?A long-term renovation of the Ice Arena will require broad (BGSU Board of Trustees) support. Similarly,
sustaining varsity hockey means creating a strong foundation for the program to have the opportunity to
succeed,? Cartwright said. ?The goal is ambitious, but in order to fix the arena and adequately fund
hockey, we are proceeding with the next step to professionally evaluate the interest in a fund-raising
campaign for the building and a potential scholarship endowment.?
Bentz Whaley Flessner began work this week, conducting interviews with key alumni, community members and
former players. The interviews are expected to help BGSU target a realistic goal for potential
?Preliminary discussions from the two working groups helped to direct this next step,? Cartwright said.
?Now, we need to measure the levels of support. If the feasibility study demonstrates support for a
renovation and endowment campaign, we will move forward.?
The study will take place in the coming weeks, while the work from the two committees is finalized. The
university expects to announce outcomes and an ultimate direction in August.
While the fundraising feasibility study is conducted, some of the initial recommendations from committees
will be implemented.
Recommendations from the arena committee that will be acted on immediately include:
? Operational changes to tighten turnaround times and improve ice usage.
? Rate structures that more adequately reflect current markets.
? An evaluation of programming, with a focus on intramural, educational and recreational ice activities.
Another recommendation from the committee includes planning for a renovation, with the existing footprint
of the building remaining the same.
The top priorities are infrastructure repairs, locker room improvements, fan amenities and changing the
curling ice to multipurpose ice. Action on this recommendation will follow the feasibility study.
?The Ice Arena is an important part of our campus and community,? said Ed Whipple, BGSU?s vice-resident
for student affairs. He?s overseeing the arena committee The Ice Arena is run by student affairs. ?The
business model must be further developed and focused. The recommendations from the working group are
important first steps.?
BGSU athletics director Greg Christopher said a hockey endowment fund remains a possibility, citing that
Miami University has such a fund. The RedHawks have one of the best programs in the country.
Christopher said earlier this season the endowment probably would have to be in the $15 million to 20
million range and would include scholarships, salaries and operating expenses.
?Through a similar plan, (Miami?s) former players, alumni and supporters stepped forward and endowed the
team?s scholarships,? Christopher said. ?It?s a vital step that frees resources to help make the
operating budget more competitive.?