Cash-strapped Rush might be out at Allstate Arena
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media May 19, 2013 7:35PM
Updated: May 19, 2013 11:36PM
Since a Sun-Times report May 6 exposed the criminal history and financial improprieties of former Rush owner David Staral Jr., the team’s players have had a sense of uncertainty regarding the future of the organization.
Though the league has taken over for Staral Jr., who left the team with outstanding debts, the situation has continued to spiral and appears to have at least minimally affected the team’s play.
The Rush (4-5) lost to the Arizona Rattlers 56-49 on Sunday in what might have been the team’s last game at Allstate Arena.
A source with intimate knowledge of the situation told the Sun-Times the league seriously is discussing the possibility of the Rush playing the rest of its home games in Rockford. Allstate Arena has been home to the Rush since the team’s inception in 2001.
The Rush already is scheduled to play home games in Rockford on June 8 and June 15 because of conflicts at Allstate Arena. Those arose because of the team’s delay in signing a contract with the building.
But a permanent move could alienate a tortured fan base and a group of players who expected to play in the league’s biggest market.
Rush coach Bob McMillen denies that the team’s play has been a result of the turmoil.
“They know it’s not us,” McMillen said. “Everything is out of their hands. Is it fair what’s happening to our players and stuff? No. But we don’t have any control over that. We’re thankful that the league is taking us over and is running it. They could close the doors on us.
“I don’t know where we’ll be in a few weeks, but all I know is we’re going to play football for the rest of the season.”
For the second consecutive home game, the big screen at Allstate Arena was raised to the rafters. According to a source, the screen wasn’t in use because the league didn’t pay for the services of Program Productions, the company responsible for the arena’s video operations. As a result, coaches’ challenges and instant replay weren’t available.
That also was the case for the team’s loss May 4 to the Cleveland Gladiators.
The referee also wasn’t provided with a microphone to announce penalties to the crowd. That service also is tied to video production.