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Arena renovations forces Northwestern to HS gym

Northwestern will play the 2017-2018 season in a high school gym.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Maryland v Northwestern Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A college team playing in a high school gymnasium for an entire season? Yes, it is happening this year for Northwestern women’s basketball (and volleyball team), as reported by the Evanston Review.

A local school in the city, Evanston Township High School, will become the home for the Wildcats this season due to Welsh-Ryan Arena undergoing a $110 million renovation.

"It's a facility with tradition and history, and we have an opportunity to pack it a little bit, and have our home-court advantage, head coach Joe McKeown told the Evanston Review. “We'll see how that goes. That's our goal. It should be fun to kind of get the crowd into it and make it a special year in that respect."

Out of the 16 home games for Northwestern this season, 15 of them will be played at Beardsley. As for the women’s counterpart, the men’s basketball team will call Allstate Arena its home — where the WNBA’s Chicago Sky plays.

Only once in the upcoming season will the women’s team get to play in AllState Arena which will be on Dec. 19 when Green Bay comes into town.

Northwestern's deputy director of athletics for external affairs, Mike Polisky, ensured the Evanson Review while the university is playing — and practice — at the high school, during its games there will be courtside signage, banners and video-board graphics (the school’s traditional scoreboards have already been replaced with video boards) to make it feel like it is a Wildcats home court game.

Unfortunately, Northwestern isn’t the only school forcing the women’s basketball team to play in a high school: the University of Cincinnati’s team will be playing at St. Ursula Academy. The story line there is essentially the same, while the women’s team is pushed into a high school arena, the men’s gets to play in a bigger one, eliminating thee potential of more fans to come to the women’s games.