NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Monday, Tennessee State University pitched its case to the Nashville Sports Authority to bring up to three football games back to Hale Stadium in 2012 for the school's centennial celebration.
The TSU Tigers have been playing their home games at LP Field since 1999.
Ron Brooks, TSU's Associate Vice President of Facilities Management, told Nashville's News 2 the opportunity of playing in an NFL quality stadium had great appeal to the university at the time the deal was made.
“We play in a very nice, very nice stadium, state of the art [stadium] which seats 80,000 [people]. Our attendance at a normal conference game is about 10,000 so you can see we feel a little lonely,” Brooks said.
The “lonely” feeling described by Brooks is just one reason TSU wants to bring the Tigers back home for their centennial.
“Our students have missed that opportunity to have that on campus football experience,” Brooks told Nashville's News 2. “We would like to be able to bring that back.”
Several TSU students agreed that there has been a lack of school spirit at some of the school's home football games.
“It's exciting to go to LP stadium but at the same time it's a lot of hassle for students to get on a bus and then go there so it would be a big plus for it to be right here on school campus,” TSU freshman James Ervin said.
TSU junior Darion Banister agreed, saying, “Titans stadium, that is wonderful, but that's not our home. That is the Titans' home. That is not Tennessee State University Tigers home.”
TSU said it hopes a temporary move next year gets the ball rolling to possibly bring the Tigers back home to “The Hole” for good.
“The only thing that has been approved is for us to spend about $1 million to get the stadium up to where we can play up to three games next year,” Brooks told Nashville's News 2. “We're hoping to rekindle that spirit of what could be if we were able to bring football back here.”
The $1 million would be spent on additional seating, portable restrooms, painting, an upgrade to the sound system, as well as other minor fix-ups.
Brooks said it could cost up to $27 million to completely renovate the stadium. He also said while that project isn't even “on the books yet”, it's also not out of the question.
The Nashville Sports Authority has not given an answer yet on if TSU will be allowed to move game locations.