Assembly Hall's Falling Ceiling Postpones Indiana Basketball Game

Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 08:23 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Indiana University men's basketball team postponed its home Big Ten Conference basketball game against No. 15-ranked Iowa Tuesday after a piece of metal fell from the ceiling of Assembly Hall onto lower bowl seats, the university said at a news conference Tuesday.

The aged but beloved Assembly Hall has been the stage of the school's biggest games from its storied basketball program once led by Bobby Knight, but the postponement was rare for the university.

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School officials said in a news release that about six and a half hours before the game, a large piece of metal, roughly eight feet long by 14 inches wide, fell and damaged seats in the northwest corner of the building.

"Safety is our No.1 priority," Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass said. "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." 

Just last month, the university announced that Cindy Simon Skjodt donated $40 million to help renovate the building, which will be renamed the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, ESPN noted. The facility will have a remodeled entryway, bathrooms and concession stands and a new video scoreboard. 

Glass said in the news conference Tuesday that a women's basketball game against the University of Michigan in Assembly Hall will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.

"We've also concluded, based upon, again, advice from Jeff Kaden, the chief university engineer that the women's basketball game will go on … because we're able to handle the anticipated capacity within the mid-section … of Assembly Hall, away from the corners where the metal had dislodged this afternoon," Glass said. "So, again, I talked to David Brandon about that, and my understanding is Michigan is on their way to Bloomington."

Glass said that the university turned down an offer by Jim Morris, president Pacers Sports and Entertainment, to have the Indiana-Iowa game played at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, roughly an hour away from Bloomington. He said he did not think the move could have been possible in the two-day timeframe. Morris is a member of the Indiana University board of trustees.

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