Lyke Plans to “Flip the Pete”


(TPN File Photo)

Athletic Director Heather Lyke wants to “flip” the basketball court at the Petersen Events Center.

She announced that the Athletic Department will be changing the layout of the court at a media roundtable discussion at the Pete Wednesday morning.

According to Lyke, when Pitt built the events center, it “essentially built it backward” — meaning that the TV cameras on the court — currently located on the same side as the Oakland Zoo — show players, coaches and other sports personnel on the benches rather than the students in the fan section. Her plan is to move the benches in front of the Zoo and the cameras to the opposite side of the court at the end of the 2018-2019 season. This way, the cameras can focus on both the Zoo and people on the benches.

“When you see our games on national television, I don’t think it showcases our students at Pitt in the Oakland zoo as well as it could,” Lyke said. “It’s critical for the game day environment, the experience of our students at Pitt.”

She also briefly mentioned that with the reconfiguration, her team will also “re-seat” the arena at the end of the season, meaning all current ticket holders will need to pick new seats. She also spoke about plans to renovate the court’s hardwood floors — suggesting there could be colorful new designs put on it.

Lyke said there are several other factors the Athletic Department still needs to address — including expanding student participation and improving accommodations for the media and band.

“We want, as a student at Pitt, them to have the priority, and to have the experience that unites them and allows us to unite our campus,” Lyke said.

The Pitt Panthers’ basketball season opens late November.

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