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Lots vs. courts

Chris Khorey | Wednesday, April 6, 2005

A couple of my friends and I went looking for a pickup basketball game during one of the nice days recently. We wandered up to the basketball courts behind Stepan Center, where we expected to see basketballs flying in the warm spring air.How wrong we were.The courts, site of a Frosh-O basketball tournament for us this past August, have been converted into a parking lot. Yes, the basketball hoops are still there, but they are useless because of all the cars around them.This phenomenon is not new, nor is limited to the far north end of campus. The basketball court at Lyons is used almost exclusively for parking. The Bookstore courts, which lend their name to this weekend’s famous basketball tournament, are covered with overflow patrons during football season.Both parking lots and basketball courts are essential facets of this University, so why do they share space?Notre Dame owns a ton of land surrounding the developed part of campus, so why can it only pave small areas? There are crunches for both basketball playing space and car parking space.Of course, paved area can be ugly, but so is the power plant. Speaking of which, there is a lot of open space behind the power plant/water tower area. Much of this grassy area is used for sports, but now the Stepan courts are taken over by cars, can’t football, soccer and lacrosse move over for hoops?The other perspective to this issue is the fact that several University parking lots have basketball hoops. This presents a severe danger to drivers. Unlike lamp posts, hoops are not designed to be unobtrusive. Subsequently they end up awkwardly positioned between spaces.Furthermore, when cars leave and an area opens up, ballers are attracted to the suddenly available goal and begin to shoot baskets. Shots, of course, produce rebo-unds, and I don’t think anyone wants their car to be the leading rebounder in a pickup basketball game.Leaving cars exposed to basketball is a major liability for the University. If a windshield is broken, Notre Dame could very easily be sued. Add to this the sheer frustration a student looking to get a little fun exercise feels when he finds a Volkswagon on the free throw line, and you have the makings of a serious issue.I just hope it doesn’t take an embarrassing lawsuit to wake the administration up.