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Wisconsin athletic department responds to Kohl Center banner fiasco

There will be no virtual banners at the Kohl Center, but the traditional banners hanging from the ceiling aren't coming back.

Where did all the banners go?
Where did all the banners go?

Tuesday morning, Andy Baggot of the Wisconsin State Journal reported the Kohl Center would be permanently removing the championship banners from its rafters. In the WSJ piece, Baggot noted the school was going to a virtual banner system to highlight individual Kohl Center tenants (men's and women's basketball as well as men's and women's hockey) championships when they play.

Needless to say, Badgers fans are freaking out.

Paul Capobianco from UW Athletic Communications was able to clear up the misconception about the virtual banners, shooting that down in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.

Many fans took to email to contact the Wisconsin administration. Thankfully, they were proactive in getting back to concerned fans. Here is a response from Associate Athletic Director Justin Doherty:

We have been working for months to try and find a way to recognize the NCAA titles, conference regular-season and tournament titles, Final/Frozen Fours, etc. each with their own banner in the Kohl Center. It's well over 50 banners. We've looked at situating them at all angles and there are just too many. We could certainly stay with what we've had, but we want to give more substantial recognition to each championship rather than have one banner listing multiple years on it. In other words, we want each year to be more visible. We also want to have the hockey years highlighted during a hockey game and basketball during basketball games.

The second level façade of the Kohl Center is mostly gray concrete. We decided to look at using that to recognize the championship years I've mentioned above. We think we have a system designed that will display the hockey years during a hockey game and the basketball years during basketball games. We think it will add a lot to the look of the facility (replacing the concrete with some color and championship recognition) as well as giving a lot of championship years much more visibility than they've had. This will be physical signage, not virtual or LED signage.

It has taken a while to get to this point. We didn't know if it would work, which is why we haven't said anything. Obviously had hoped to have it up by now, but it'll be a few more weeks. If you still think this is stupid, then you are certainly free to your opinion. But I did want you to have the whole, accurate story. Thanks.

So, it is true that the banners are gone from the Kohl Center and won't be coming back. That's still not entirely acceptable to a lot of fans.

The positive news is there will be no virtual banner on the ribbon board. The idea of sprucing up the concrete portion of the Kohl Center is a positive one as well. Not certain it was worth the risk of taking down traditional banners, but at least it's not a virtual banner.

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