BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Tuesday's basketball game between Indiana University and the University of Iowa was postponed after a piece of metal fell from the ceiling into the seats at Assembly Hall.
University officials said the piece of metal was about 8 feet long and 14 inches wide. It damaged the seats in the lower part of Section F near the northwest corner of the building.
Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass made the decision about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
"Safety is our No.1 priority," Glass said. "Our University engineers have advised us to postpone events in Assembly Hall until it can be determined what caused the facing to fall and ensure the safety of everyone attending an event in the facility.”
Structural engineers continued to investigate what happened and what went wrong after the incident.
"The preliminary assessment is that with the snow and ice, it settled at the lowest point in that curve at such a magnitude that it basically popped that bottom plate off," Glass said. "I'm also advised that the plating is actually ornamental and it serves no structural purpose. So what we may do is just remove all that plating."
Glass thanked Pacers President Jim Morris for offering to host the IU vs. Iowa game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. IU officials said after a consultation, they decided logistically it was not something that could happen with only 24 or 48 hours of notice.
Wednesday night's women's game against Michigan was expected to go on as scheduled.
As for the men's team, the Hoosiers have 72 hours to come up with a makeup plan before Big Ten officials will get involved. Indiana remains hopeful its final two home games, March 2 against Ohio State and March 5 against Nebraska, will go on as scheduled. In fact, Indiana coach Tom Crean would have been content using the building on Tuesday.
"I think we would feel fine doing that tonight, to be honest with you. It's very isolated," he said. "Our guys would have been comfortable playing anywhere today. They were ready to go."
Indiana officials knew the building, which first opened in 1971-72, needed work. In December, they announced Cindy Simon Skjodt was donating $40 million to help renovate the facility, which will be renamed the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Among the planned changes are a new entryway, remodeled bathrooms and concession stands, and a big, new video scoreboard along with box seats above the south baseline bleachers.
But none of the proposed renovations involved the metal plates, and Glass doesn't believe it is necessary now.
"Early on we got the all clear from the engineer that the floor was fine," Glass said. "We could have practice on the floor. We could have had a game there if there were no fans there. So the floor area is in really good shape. The fact that the roof itself is almost, well, it's new within three years, and it had been inspected recently, gives us a great deal of comfort there."
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