Had the piece of metal that fell from the northwest corner of the Assembly Hall ceiling Tuesday afternoon crashed into the lower bowl during an Indiana basketball game, fans surely would have been hurt or killed.
Thankfully the metal facing facing fell just over six hours before tipoff, so the only casualty was the Hoosiers' home game against Iowa.
Indiana announced hours before tipoff that the matchup has been postponed and will be played at a yet-to-be-determined date. Iowa was willing to play the game at Banker's Life Arena in Indianapolis, but the Hawkeyes made plans to return home after the Hoosiers decided that was not logistically feasible.
“Safety is our No.1 priority," Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement. "Our University engineers have advised us to postpone events in Assembly Hall until it can be determined what caused the facing to fall and ensure the safety of everyone attending an event in the facility."
Glass shared his preliminary assessment of what happened with reporters in Bloomington on Tuesday evening, explaining that accumulation of snow and ice in one area of the roof caused a piece of metal facing to pop off. The roof of the building was replaced three years ago, per Glass, and all of Assembly Hall is inspected for safety annually.
Indiana should be very grateful that the metal fell at a time when the building was empty. In an incident like this, replacing a few shattered seats is the best possible outcome.