August 02, 2011
Northwestern has a long history of hoops futility playing on a plain basketball court, so the Wildcats are pondering a drastic color change in hopes of reversing their fortunes.
Among the four potential new court designs Northwestern is considering for Welsh-Ryan Arena is one that features a predominantly purple floor except for the white inside the 3-point arcs. The remaining three options have traditionally colored courts with assorted versions of Northwestern's logo at midcourt and different colors inside the 3-point arc.
To help get a better sense whether fans are open to the all-purple court, Northwestern is soliciting input on the four designs via Facebook. The school will reveal the winning design in mid-August.
"We'll definitely take a strong look at what the fans want to see," Northwestern associate athletic director of athletic communications Nick Brilowski said. "They're the ones who are paying to come to our games. We want to seriously take a look at what they want."
The mere fact that Northwestern is considering going all-purple is a sign that the trend of universities hoping to generate buzz for their programs with outlandish court designs has some staying power. Boise State football started the fad with its ubiquitous blue field, but the movement has seeped into basketball the past 12 months.
Oregon made national headlines last year when it unveiled a controversial orange and tan fir tree-lined floor with a barely visible mid-court line at newly built Matthew Knight Arena. Towson University followed suit earlier this summer by giving its basketball court a similarly splashy makeover replete with orange watermark tiger stripes.
The response to Northwestern's potential purple floor has been mixed so far on Facebook.
Wrote one fan: "PUR-PLE COURT! PUR-PLE COURT! PUR-PLE COURT!" Wrote another: "I love purple, but I'd rather have the focus of the game be on our team and players instead of a gimmick paint job."
"People either love it or they hate it," Brilowski said. "The people who think it would be unique like the Boise State football field are the ones in favor of it. Other people cringe and wonder what it would look like on TV. We'll get together as a staff and talk about it, but the fan input will go a long way."