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Rice Stadium penalized as one of the worst football stadiums in college sports

Rice Stadium penalized among worst football stadiums in college sports

Rice Stadium
Rice Stadium is one of the worst stadiums in college sports. Photo courtesy of Rice University

Rice University rightfully deserves its scholastic accolades, including the most recent ranking as the top university in Texas. But Rice Stadium? 


Based in part on online reviews, Rice Stadium ranks as the eighth worst stadium in college football, according to a new list from personal finance website MoneyWise. The website weighed other factors, such as gameday attendance, to rate college football stadiums in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

MoneyWise flags the 47,000-seat Rice Stadium for the vast number of empty seats at many Rice home football games and for needing serious upgrades. “The stadium dates back to 1950, and its upper bowl, in particular, has been poorly maintained. Fans say upgrades are long overdue,” MoneyWise says of the home of the Rice Owls.

“A good place to watch a football game, but definitely lacking the amenities we've all come to expect in modern stadiums,” quotes MoneyWise of one Rice fan. Another commenter calls the stadium, “a throwback to the ’60s.”

On top of that, says MoneyWise, “there are too few concession stands to serve even the smallish numbers of fans who do turn out. In a capacity crowd, lots of people would go home hungry.”

Can it get any worse in Texas? Yes, according to MoneyWise. Football fans may filter into the Alamodome to root on the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners, but they're probably not cheering for the stadium itself. It ranks as third-worst in the nation.

The only venues that scored lower rankings than the Alamodome on MoneyWise’s list are the University of Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium in Honolulu (No. 2) and Vanderbilt University’s Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville (No. 1).

In 2010, when the City of San Antonio approved a contract for UTSA to play football at the Alamodome, the university’s athletics director praised it as “one of the best football stadiums in the country.” UTSA’s football team debuted in 2011.

MoneyWise isn’t alone in its critique of the Alamodome. News website grades the 26-year-old venue as the worst football stadium in Texas, and the Bleacher Report sports website cites it as one of the 25 “dumbest” stadiums ever built. The City of San Antonio built the stadium, which opened in 1993, at a cost of $186 million.

MoneyWise also tackles the University of North Texas’ Apogee Stadium in Denton as one of the 40 worst stadiums in college football. The home of UNT’s Mean Green fields a No. 31 ranking among the worst stadiums in college football.

The stadium, which opened in 2011, suffers from lackluster attendance and frustrating gameday parking, according to MoneyWise. UNT “has struggled to find its footing in the venue,” the website says.