COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Ohio State team will have to wait until Saturday to enjoy its Christmas gift. That's when the Buckeyes will return to action to face Chicago State, on top of a brand new court- the third in the 14-year history of the Schottenstein Center.
But while members of both the OSU men's and women's squads are excited to play on the new court, its installation came as a result of more of a need than a want.
"The existing court, we're into our seventh season with it. So, on average, we move that court over 50 times a year taking it in and out for different events," Mike Damas, the building engineer of the Schottenstein Center said. "It was starting to get more dead spots and the repairs were starting to get more expensive."
The need for a new court gave both Buckeye teams the opportunity to give the Schottenstein Center floor a new design, one that they took full advantage of. Reminiscent of the courts at Notre Dame's Purcell Pavilion and Illinois' Assembly Hall, Ohio State's new court utilizes darker wood at center court to create the shape of the state of Ohio, a design that men's coach Thad Matta was in full favor of.
"Coach Matta was really adamant that he wanted that on there," Damas said. "The state of Ohio in the background is a great look for it."
The court's design was chosen from 12 samples that were drawn up by Ohio State's Creative Services. And while most will notice its aesthetic improvements, it also features physical changes from its predecessor.
"The profile's narrower, so it's a shorter court. It's about two and three-eighths inches thick as opposed to the existing court, which is two and three quarters, so about a half-inch difference almost," Damas said. "It's a thicker court and a stronger court."
The Buckeyes may not have noticed just how necessary the new court's installation was, but the Schottenstein Center staff certainly did.
"I'm not sure if the coaches and players noticed it, but we could see it," Damas said. "Where it would take us a day or two in the past, it was now taking a couple of weeks to repair. We re-finished it twice."
The quality of the court will likely appeal to Matta for reasons other than its look and feel. The same style of court that is used by professional teams, the OSU coach now has an NBA-caliber court to add to his recruiting repertoire, which already includes an NBA-quality arena.
"The new technology that's out there on it, the look, there's a lot that goes into it," Damas said. "One of the requirements for the court was there had to be so many of these courts in NBA facilities, as well as NCAA Division-I schools, so qualifying for this bid was very tight. It is an NBA-quality court."
Damas said that the goal is for the Schottenstein Center to get another six or seven years of service our of the new floor, which cost just under $85,000.