My Twitter follows tend of fall into two categories: political commentators (lord help me) and San Diego State Aztecs-related accounts. Lately – amazingly – it has been the latter group that has been the source of the most breathless panic and bed wetting. A sampling:
Can we stop this now?
I think we can stop this now.
It might be hard to see amid the flurry of new details and testy statements swirling around as the war for Mission Valley heats up, but the survival of SDSU football is no longer at issue here. That was solidified yesterday with the latest dispatch from
SoccerCity communications coordinator U-T columnist Kevin Acee.
Here’s a TL;DR version: No matter which way the voters decide this fall, San Diego State football isn’t going to be homeless, unless it’s by choice. A very weird choice. Under the new agreement between SoccerCity and Mayor Kevin Faulconer, SDSU has been offered the following if it agrees to the deal by December:
- An initial stadium capacity of 33,500 (expandable to 40,000).
- The chance to buy into 10 to 30 acres of land for its academic needs.
From an Aztecs football perspective (we are an SDSU football and basketball blog, mind you) that is an acceptable scenario. In fact, as long as San Diego State is stuck in the Mountain West conference, 33K with built-in shade and a steep gradient is fine. It would be a great place to watch a game.
However, from the perspective of a university that wants to increase its physical capacity, student enrollment by 50 percent and eventually crack the Top 50 of national research institutions, it’s … problematic. And that’s what the Mission Valley war is about now: A battle between developers and SDSU’s forward-looking academic ambitions.
You can remove Aztecs football from that equation. One way or another, the program will be taken care of. Since all the recent panic centers on where the Aztecs will play in 2019 and 2020, here are the likely scenarios:
If SoccerCity wins …
Aztecs football plays at Petco Park in 2019 and Donovan-Acee Coliseum in 2020. If the SoccerCity initiative is passed by voters in November, SDSU would almost certainly exercise their option to buy in to the plan by December 1. The alternative would be to pony up more money to build a similar stadium in a less advantageous location, be it Balboa Stadium or, I don’t know, the Santee Drive-In? That’s not a real choice.
If SoccerCity fails …
San Diego State would play at Qualcomm Stadium in 2019 and 2020, unless a new stadium is built sooner. If this does go to an RFP process, SDSU/California State University and whatever icky robber baron they partner with will have the inside track. Perhaps someone else swoops in with a better vision, but you’d think anyone who wants that land will have to include Aztecs football in their proposal. And if SDSU does get its hands on the entire site, crumbling stadium and all, the urgency of the Q getting shuttered is lessened. It stays open as long as SDSU is willing to slather Spackle over crumbling concrete and set up rat traps.
“We have expressed our willingness to take over the operational cost of Qualcomm Stadium.” – Bob Schulz, SDSU lead architect and associate vice president of real estate, two months ago.
Seriously, that’s it. Those are the scenarios. Unless I’m missing something.
So the war over Mission Valley rages on between SDSU leadership and FS Investors, and it likely will until November. But as of yesterday, this ceased to be about the survival of Aztecs football.
Let’s all step back in off the ledge.