When Vanderbilt officials were carting ESPN producers around campus yesterday, they started with a list of this National Arboretum's most picturesque locales: Alumni Lawn, Library Lawn, McGugin Lawn, Hawkins Field, Olin Lawn, and even the Blakemore Intramural Fields.
But as the Vandercart (the six-person, black golf cart in which Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams II can often been seen riding around the road-less West End campus) was giving its usual tour, ESPN decided on something different.
GameDay will originate from Commons Quadrangle, the brand new, $150 million first-year residency complex, which boasts 10 coed dormitories and the Commons Center, a miniature student center and dining hall that now anchors the east-west axis of the Peabody campus.
Maurice Patton asked Vice Chancellor Williams about the selection.
"Our job was to show [ESPN] all the possible sites," Williams said. "There were a limited amount of places that are going to fit the dimensions they needed for the show, plus their equipment. It becomes, then what they think is the best site for what they want to do and the logistics, and that's The Commons."
"We're thrilled," he added.
Not everyone on West End was quite as thrilled. One student vented his frustration in a Letter to the Editor of The Vanderbilt Hustler, voicing his skepticism that hosting a football pre-game show almost four blocks away from the football stadium was the best solution.
"It pains me to realize our administration has chosen to exploit the hard work of our undefeated football team by steering GameDay literally as far away as possible from the stadium in which our team plays, only to showcase what the administration believes is the greatest thing ever to happen to Vanderbilt," wrote Vanderbilt senior Taylor Gould.
"How about you pay for an advertisement for the Commons during the game and hold GameDay in a sensible location?" he asked.
The location seems fixed, however, and ESPN has announced details about when they'll be filming on set:
► Friday: Live, 20-minute segment at 3:30 p.m. central.
► Saturday: Live, 3-hour broadcast from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. central.
As S&S noted Monday, Chick-fil-A will be giving away free food, while supplies last, at 7:15 a.m.
According to Maurice Patton, "Fans attending the Friday and Saturday telecasts of GameDay will be allowed to park in Lots 77 (18th Avenue and Horton), Lots 80 and 82 (Edgehill and 18th Avenue) and in the Terrace and Wesley garages."