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Purdue’s response to Harbaugh is political and petty

Sometimes, it’s hard to admit you were wrong

Indiana State Sycamores v Purdue Boilermakers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Purdue athletics took a big blow yesterday when Jim Harbaugh let the world know how bad the visiting teams locker room conditions were at Ross-Ade Stadium. With temperatures over 90 degrees, Harbaugh described their locker room as a “hot box”.

Harbaugh made note of many other negative aspects of the locker room, which included it being unsanitary, no doors on bathroom stalls, too small, and unsportsmanlike.

Harbaugh also stated how there is no on-site capabilities for a player to get an X-Ray done. Wilton Speight had to travel by van blocks away to receive proper care.

It says a lot about a person (or an organization) when they did something wrong, yet try to deflect and shy away from any wrongdoing. Purdue decided to point the finger back at Michigan, instead of saying “Well, he did raise valid concerns.”

Purdue Statement

Let’s evaluate the Purdue response

The best Purdue point is an official from Michigan went through the facilities on July 18th. I’m sure whoever represented Michigan wasn’t thinking “Wow, what a great setup you have here!” I was there Saturday, and it’s exactly how Harbaugh described the locker room area to be.

What the Michigan representative was probably thinking in July is “Well, the game will be in late September so temperature won’t be an issue, this facility is pretty bad though.” I’m not a betting man, but I’d bet a good amount that this was the thought process.

The most humorous part of Purdue’s response is saying the visiting team manual has “there is no air conditioning in the (visiting) locker room” in bold font. That’s a swell way of getting a heads up. The bold font is basically a legal disclaimer saying “We have a bad product, you have been warned. Not our fault you didn’t read this”

The statement goes on to say that Michigan did not request preferred temporary accommodations. While this may be true, why should Michigan have to ask for a cooling system of some kind, more fans in the locker room, etc? Michigan was the guest of Purdue, aren’t guests supposed to be treated right and not have to ask for things that should be obvious accommodations?

Purdue’s statement reads like a bad hotel chain blaming the guest for not requesting pillows and a blanket in their room before their arrival. The guest notices there are not blankets nor pillows and goes to the front desk, only to be told they can’t be helped, they didn’t specify what amenities they wanted, besides having a room to sleep in.

It should be any programs duty, especially on such a treacherously humid day, to take care of the visiting team however they can before their arrival. There clearly was no concerted effort to make sure Michigan’s players didn’t become too overheated.

The most disappointing aspect is Purdue doesn’t admit the facility is a black eye to the prestige the university does in fact have. A simple sentence acknowledging Jim Harbaugh’s concerns are valid would have sufficed. But Purdue chose to do the opposite, and their statement read out like that of a politician. The only people they’re fooling are themselves, and their fan-base.

I was in this shed-type building for about fifteen minutes on Saturday, and I couldn’t have endured fifteen more without being exhausted and overheated to an unsafe degree. Myself and my fellow journalists were all wiping our brows, as sweat inevitably came off them. The perspiration was bad enough, what was worse is how hard it was to breathe. I can’t think of a better term to use than “hotbox”, as Harbaugh stated. The oxygen in that room was hard to come by. I also noticed there was not nearly enough fans for a room of that size.

We all should aspire to follow the golden rule in life, treating others how we’d like to be treated. Purdue not only failed abiding by the most loving of rules, but they are now failing after the fact. They could have done more to make Michigan’s experience at their home a better one.

Purdue gets a lot of revenue, a little of which could have been used at some point in the past to take care of the visiting team locker room. The old Big Ten television deal had Purdue receiving over 32 million a year, the new one for this season and beyond will net the university over 43 million, and perhaps even 54. With that much revenue from television alone, Purdue should be forced to use it on updating these facilities before receiving a dime of the rest left over.

Hopefully some good comes from the issue being wide in the open now. It was disheartening to see such a downright bad locker room at a wonderful university, in a beautiful town. Purdue does a lot of things right, but it’s a shame their statement didn’t address the valid issues Harbaugh raised.