By Howard Greninger
TERRE HAUTE — The return of the Indianapolis Colts for an 11th preseason training camp at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Cook Stadium may be in question.
Anderson officials this week say the city and Anderson University appear to have an inside track for bringing the Colts back to the city northeast of Indianapolis.
Anderson Mayor Kris Ockomon was quoted Tuesday in the Anderson Herald Bulletin as quoting City Councilman Art Pepelea, who is working on attracting the team back to that city, as being “99 percent sure that they’re coming back, but that one-tenth of a percent we have to hang on.”
A Colts spokesman today declined to respond to the report out of Anderson.
Rose-Hulman officials and Colts representatives announced last year that the two sides had agreed to a new multi-year deal, thought to be for three years, to keep the camp in Terre Haute.
Other possible suitors had been Anderson University and Louisville, Ky.
Anderson was the original Indiana training camp for the Colts from 1984 to 1999. Louisville was considered strong from a regional marketing and advertising standpoint
Kevin Lanke, Rose-Hulman sports information director, said today that “discussions are still ongoing with the Colts regarding training camp.”
Lanke said “historically it has been as early as January when all the details [for a training camp] have been wrapped up and has been as late as April in the past.
“It is a Colts’ announcement involving their training camp and whenever they announce whatever they are going to announce is when we will know. We are one of the [places] that they talk to and if they choose to talk to other people, that is their decision,” Lanke said.
Chris Williams, director of communications at Anderson University, said the university in 1998 was in the midst of building a wellness center on campus, which required the Colts to find a new location, moving training camp to Terre Haute.
“We have built that wellness center … and we have also made other improvements to the university, which would include the athletic facilities on our campus,” he said. Those facility improvements were made as part of the university’s master plan for the campus.
“We have maintained good relationships with the Colts every year since they relocated and this year is no different. The decision about the [training] camp is theirs to make. The Colts really truly do need to make that determination and decision and we stand by them, answer questions that they might have and be supportive in any way we can.”
The 2008 Colts training camp was unusual in that perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning did not practice and was not on the sideline. The Colts later released that Manning had two surgeries on his knee. Despite Manning’s absence, 22,308 people attended the training camp, second most ever at Rose-Hulman, behind 2007’s 26,000 attendance.
Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.