Commodores athletics director David Williams has hinted at the possibility of a new football stadium at Vanderbilt.
Now, restless Commodores fans are pushing for swift action. A change.org petition is circling the social media accounts of Vanderbilt football fans. It is composed by “Fans of Vanderbilt Football” and is set to be delivered to Williams, University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos and the Vanderbilt Board of Trust if it reaches the requested amount of signatures.
Here’s how the petition reads:
Vanderbilt University and the Board of Trust should initiate immediate action that will result near term in a new SEC quality stadium with a supporting funding campaign.
As Vanderbilt alumni and fans, we ask the Board of Trust, Vice Chancellor David Williams and Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos to fully support the construction of a SEC level football facility and to return the game day experience to a home field advantage.
Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos recently declined comment through Beth Fortune, Vanderbilt’s Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs regarding the construction of a new football stadium. Fortune told The Tennessean that it was premature to talk about a stadium right now with so many other steps yet to take, and she added: “We are first and foremost an academic institution, and that is always the priority.”
Just weeks earlier, David Williams said that a new stadium should be built in the next three to four years depending on how quickly funds can be raised. The other 13 SEC schools have made substantial improvements to their football stadiums in the past 15 years. Those projects have cost more than $1.2 billion combined. The last major renovation to Vanderbilt Stadium was in 1981.
As Vanderbilt alumni and fans, we implore the Board of Trust, Vice Chancellor David Williams and Chancellor Nick Zeppos to fully support the construction of a SEC level football facility.
Please join Vanderbilt fans in petitioning the Board of Trust, Vice Chancellor Williams and Chancellor Zeppos to chart a clear and announced course that will result in an SEC quality stadium for our football program.
According to a report from The Tennessean’s Adam Sparks, Williams revealed publicly that the athletics department and university are at least considering possibilities for a replacement or renovation of the current venue, which seats just north of 40,000 fans.
The athletics director did not, however, set a firm time line for establishing a solution to what has long been perceived as a “stadium issue” at the Nashville-based private university.
“Even before I took over (as AD in 2003), people were saying, ‘Stadium, stadium, stadium’ because everybody was building stadiums,” Williams said, according to Sparks. “But there hadn’t been serious talk internally about it before this.
“When you look at SEC stadiums, we are not in the same ballpark as the rest of them. That’s not a secret.”
Williams estimates the cost of a new or improved venue would be in the $60-90 million range.