Woodling: Haskell’s capacity: ±11,000

Now in its ninth decade of existence, Haskell Stadium is either quaint or dilapidated, depending on individual sensibilities about aging, iconic structures.

Haskell Stadium has been the home football field of the Fightin’ Indians since 1926, Lawrence High since 1930 and Free State High since 1997. All in all, the facility, built at a cost of roughly $250,000, has aged gracefully.

Sure, there are no concessions or rest rooms under the south stands, and the area under the north stands is like Wind Cave without stalactites and stalagmites. But the plank seats are in good shape, and they are plentiful.

How plentiful? That’s a good question.

Over the years, I have never seen a definitive listing of the number of seats at Haskell Stadium. A few years ago, Haskell officials put the capacity at 12,500. This year, the listing is 12,000.

When I asked HINU football coach Eric Brock where that number had come from, he shook his head and replied, “I have no idea.”

Somewhere in our voluminous J-W sports archives is a replica of the program published in 1926 when the Indians debuted in Haskell Stadium against Bucknell. Nowhere in that program does it mention the new facility’s capacity.

As far as how many people attended that inaugural football game, The Indian Leader, Haskell’s student newspaper, reported that “a crowd of thousands” had witnessed the convincing 36-0 bashing of Bucknell.

Ask anyone connected with Lawrence High or Free State High football, and they’ll tell you Haskell Stadium seats around 10,000, perhaps because someone once said the facility seated about 10,000 and that number evolved into conventional wisdom.

Anyway, to get to the point, I decided to take matters into my own eyes and into my own calculator. I drove out to Haskell Stadium determined to make a count and determine once and for all how many people it seated.

First of all, let me say the calculations I came up with are subjective because none of the bench seats is numbered. I decided to be liberal and assign 25 seats to every row. That’s tight, but certainly not any tighter than the sardine seating across town at Memorial Stadium.

Both the north and south stands at Haskell Stadium contain 26 rows and five entryways. Twenty-five people in 26 rows equals 650 fannies and there are four full sections for a total of 2,600 seats. Each of the five sections with entries contain 559 seats for a total of 2,795. Also, there are two sections on each end that contain 564 seats.

If you add those figures, you’ll come up with 5,959 seats on each side. However, the press box takes up, by my calculations, 252 seats, so the north side actually has 5,707 seats.

Add the totals for both sides, and the number is 11,666. That’s if you allow for 25 seats in a row. Cutting that number to 24 would wipe out about 500 seats.

A standing-room-only crowd conceivably could boost game attendance to 12,000, but I doubt if Haskell Stadium ever has been anywhere near SRO, not even when Lawrence High and Free State have played each other there.

The bottom line, though, is that until they paint numbers on the bench seats, we’ll never know exactly how many bottoms Haskell Stadium will accommodate. But 11,000 or so is in the ballpark.