‘No cost’ modern scoreboards give Chick Evans clean, contemporary look

By Steve Dennis

There’s a new dog in town, there are new scoreboards in the fieldhouse and there’s a new look for NIU athletics.

The most recent step in the upgrading of the NIU athletic program was the installment of two new scoreboards and a new scorer’s table at Chick Evans Field House on Thursday morning.

The scoreboards and table are from Whiteway Signs out of Chicago, the same company that made the scoreboards for Comiskey Park, Candlestick Park and Joe Robbie Stadium. The company also made scoreboards for the Huskie Soccer Field and Huskie Diamond. The board for the diamond is being stored until a field location is determined for the softball and baseball teams.

The scoreboards in the fieldhouse are equipped with a computer digitizer and a graphics square on the right half of the board. The graphics center includes a four-color message center that will feature animations and messages throughout the Huskie basketball games inducing fan participation. The pictures on the message center will be clear because the bulbs in the board are 3/4 inches apart which allows for better definement. The bulbs in the scoreboard at Huskie Stadium are over an inch apart.

Associate Athletic Director Cary Groth has put together the package that includes new scoreboards for the programs at literally no cost.

“They haven’t cost us a dime,” Groth said. “Nor will they.”

The reason for this is because NIU has settled a deal with Whiteway that says NIU gets the scoreboards and scorers table for five years at no cost. Whiteway gets to put advertisements on the boards, pending approval by NIU. Groth said there will be no alcohol or tobacco advertisements on the boards.

At the end of five years, the money that Whiteway has collected from the advertisements goes to pay for the scoreboards. NIU then gets sole possession of the scoreboards and they become revenue makers for the university.

“We needed new scoreboards,” Groth said. “The other ones were old and antiquated. It’s part of upgrading our whole athletic program and facilities.”

Athletic Director Gerald O’Dell is also pleased with the scoreboards and the additions to the athletic program.

“I’m real excited,” O’Dell said. “These are little steps, but big steps. The scoreboards are just one example of our upgrading. We also have bright banners representing the North Star Conference and the AMCU. It’s more of a contemporary, clean look.”

O’Dell downplayed the idea that all of the cosmetic things that have been done are for entertainment.

“We have quality student-athletes and our image should be such,” O’Dell said. “This is not an entertainment business, all of this is done to create a festive, fun atmosphere for everyone involved.”