Leaky roof postpones Penguins’ game

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes From left, Ron Strollo (Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics), Jamie Hall (Assistant Director of Athletics Communications), John Barnes (YSU women’s basketball coach) and John Vogel (Assistant Director of Athletics Communications) look at one of the containers trying to contain a leak coming from the Beeghly Center roof. The leak led to Sunday’s postponement of YSU’s game against Northern Kentucky. The game is being played today at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

YOUNGSTOWN — One blue recycling container, another clear storage bin surrounded by some white towels.

Youngstown State University Associate Director of Athletics Rick Love then put some cardboard over both containers.

Occasional drips emanated from the Beeghly Center ceiling, beginning between 9 and 10 a.m. Sunday morning, in front of the YSU women’s basketball bench.

The Penguins were to host Northern Kentucky at 1 p.m. Sunday. There was about an hour worth of delays until both coaches, officials, YSU athletic administration and consultation from the Horizon League came to the conclusion the game would be delayed until 1 p.m. today, at the Beeghly Center. Admission is free to today’s contest.

YSU Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo deferred any questions to Love.

“Twenty-two years here and we’ve never had a game canceled here because of a leak,” Love said. “With the sheer amount of snow we’ve had yesterday and into the night, and the wind, the snow got under some of the vents up there, underneath the louvers.

“It was periodically dripping. Certainly for the safety of the student-athletes and the game officials, we wanted to err on the side of caution.”

About 100 or so people were in the stands.

YSU women’s coach John Barnes said he didn’t want to see any player injured because of a wet floor.

“I feel bad for the fans that came out, obviously all the workers and everyone involved,” Barnes said. “Player safety is No. 1. That’s why we made the decision.”

Northern Kentucky (3-13, 2-4 Horizon League) is coming into today’s game with a three-game losing streak, while YSU (13-5, 5-2) is looking for its second straight victory.

YSU is 15-4 in its last 19 league games and 23-9 in its previous 32 overall contests. The Penguins are in the midst of a five-game homestand in which it it will go 26 days between road games. YSU is coming off Friday’s win over Wright State, which was in first place. Wright State and Green Bay are both 6-1, while IUPUI and YSU are a game back at 5-2.

“That was a tough, hard-fought battle,” Barnes said of Friday’s win. “It gives a chance for the teams to rest up a little bit more.”

Sunday morning, YSU had a shootaround from 7:45 to 9 a.m.

“Right as we finished, it started from there and got worse,” Barnes said of the leak.

The administration noticed it and took action.

“Discovered at 10 a.m., when we were setting up this morning,” Love said. “Just happened to be walking on the court, had a drip and heard a drip, then discovered unfortunately the snow had gotten underneath the vent and was dripping. The sun came out and even though the temperature is below freezing, the sun just melted it. The combination of the heat of the roof caused the water to drip down through.

“It’s never happened before in my 22 years.”

Unforeseen circumstances contributed to this situation, Love said. The roof itself is constantly maintained, he added.

“They continue to try to update and tar the roof as they go,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll look at it. I think it was a lot of wind last night, a lot of snow then the sun coming out. Had it been cloudy, I don’t think we would’ve had this issue.

“It was fine (Saturday), playing the men’s game with no issues. Our facility guys I’m sure will take a look at it after both (Sunday) and (today) and throughout the course of the winter.”

If the game cannot be played at the Beeghly Center, Love said other area universities or sites will be looked into for today’s contest.

“Being a league game, it really has to get played,” Love said. “We’re fortunate being (today) is Martin Luther King Jr. Day that both schools have the day off. We’ll be able to move it to 1 o’clock (today) and give our maintenance and facilities guys 24 hours to get the leak fixed.”