Main scoreboard removed from Ohio State’s iconic St. John Arena

COLUMBUS — The mid-court scoreboard at St. John Arena is gone, but it won’t be forgotten.

The 14,00-pound, four-sided structure was taken down last week after more than three decades at the center of one of the state of Ohio’s iconic sports venues.

Ohio State Athletics spokesman Jerry Emig told the Dayton Daily News the department plans to keep one of the main boards at Value City Arena while another will go to the Covelli Center to connect those buildings to their predecessor, which opened in 1956.

Value City Arena has been the home of Buckeye basketball and men’s ice hockey since 1998 while wrestling, gymnastics, fencing and volleyball moved to Covelli when it opened in 2019.

St. John Arena was the home of the men’s basketball Buckeyes for four Final Four runs — the 1960-62 squads led by Middletown legend Jerry Lucas and the 1968 team led in scoring by Belmont High School grad Bill Hosket Jr. — and nine Big Ten championship squads.

It also hosted the women’s team as it became an early powerhouse in the conference in the 1980s and made the 1993 Final Four.

While the men’s team has returned for a handful of games since moving across the Olentangy River, the women’s team hosted NCAA Tournament games there multiple times over the past two decades.

When the men’s basketball team played Cleveland State at St. John Arena in November 2018, coach Chris Holtmann embraced the venue and said he and director of athletics Gene Smith had discussed regularly playing a game or two there every year.

That apparently is off the table now as Emig said the university “no longer hosts athletic competitions at St. John Arena.”

However, the building “remains a Sports Performance facility for us, and of course for Skull Session.”

Skull Session is the Ohio State University Marching Band’s public practice prior to home football games that draws thousands of fans on Saturdays in the fall.

Additionally, the offices for the coaches of the women’s hockey team and track and field teams are still at St. John, which also houses training facilities and the locker rooms for the women’s hockey team and its opponents.

Credit: Marcus Hartman

Credit: Marcus Hartman

As for the old scoreboard, it was installed by Whiteway Sign Company in 1987 but no longer 100 percent operational.

Whiteway went out of business in 2014, leaving Ohio State to maintain it using spare parts already on hand.

The university hopes to be able to recycle about 11,000 pounds of the scoreboard when all is said and done.

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