Discussions are being held right now to determine whether East Tennessee State University basketball games should continue to be held on campus or if those games should be played at Freedom Hall Civic Center.
Michael White, assistant athletic director for communications at ETSU, said discussions between Johnson City and ETSU officials have been occurring for a few months but that no final decision has been made.
“We are exploring with the city what it would take to move basketball from East Tennessee State’s campus to Freedom Hall,” White said.
These discussions arose out of a desire by the athletics department to have three things: A new football stadium, an indoor practice facility for football and a new basketball arena.
The reasoning is that moving basketball to Freedom Hall could allow the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center (Mini Dome), where basketball is played now, to be used for indoor football practice, White said.
The State Building Commission today approved a plan to allow an $18 million football stadium to be built at ETSU. Particulars on design, funding and location must still be developed for the stadium.
ETSU President Brian Noland was given approval by the Tennessee Board of Regents earlier this year to start a new football program. TBR governs ETSU.
Renovations to the Dome recently have included a makeover of locker rooms and the upper -level concourse, a new lighting grid and courtside advertising tables.
The basketball teams play on a court that has been placed in the middle of the Dome’s field, where football was at one time played.
White said a decision about a possible basketball games move would need to be made soon so that season tickets can be sold.
“We have to tell people where we’re going to be so they can decide if they want to buy season tickets,” White said.