Former Pitt quarterbackwill head to Arkansas State instead of the previously-reported Eastern Kentucky, as I wrote about earlier. There was a quote regarding his decision to play at Arkansas State that I found to be noteworthy from a Pitt aspect.
"Jonesboro is a college town, which is something that I haven't really experienced in the past four years," he explained. "There's a stadium right on campus that holds 30 thousand and sells out for their games. It just seems like an experience that I want to have for my (final) year."
Obviously, things like playing time and relationships were coaches were also a factor for him, but there's that nagging on-campus stadium thing again.
The on-campus stadium issue in relation to Pitt has been discussed a lot in the past. And while many guys enjoy playing at Heinz Field and sharing facilities with the Steelers, there are some such as Voytik that want more of a college feel. The sold out games with 30,000 people in attendance could be interpreted as a slight dig at Pitt games. While there are often 30,000 people at Heinz Field for games, it can feel empty at times playing in cavernous Heinz Field, which seats over 60,000 fans.
Personally, I think if Heinz Field is full, that solves a lot of the clamoring for the desire for an on-campus stadium. Playing in front of 65,000, such as will be the case for the Penn State game this year, will trump playing in front of half that on campus, in my mind. But the fact is that Heinz Field isn't full most of the time and seeing so much of it empty so often can be disheartening, so it's easy to see where Voytik is coming from.
To the 'college town' thing, I always felt that Oakland had a college feel for the most part. Sure, it's urban and there are some older residents in the neighborhood. But living in the dorms on campus, the heart of Oakland always felt a lot like a college town to me. Outside of perhaps the people connected to UPMC and the hospital system, the vast majority of the people walking around the main part of the campus were college students and the number of restaurants, bars, and university buildings gave it that kind of vibe to me. Are there other campuses more separated from the rest of the world? Absolutely. But I always felt like I was living in a college town having spent my college time in Oakland. So much so that it felt weird living there in the two years after I graduated.
I don't take Voytik's comments necessarily as overly critical and I don't think he necessarily meant them to be as such. But it's clear that he's looking forward to playing games on campus for the first time in his career.