Securing a new football stadium is a priority for San Diego State University (SDSU), according to athletic director J.D. Wicker.
Wicker, who was hired to his position by SDSU in October, is taking over at an interesting point for the university. The school is considering an expansion Valley that could allow it to take over the Qualcomm Stadium site, with the proposed development including a new football stadium for the Aztecs.
Talk of this project has occurred as the San Diego Chargers have pursued their stadium options. The NFL franchise’s proposal for a new stadium/convention center in downtown San Diego was rejected by voters in November, and the team has since being considering its options–including a possible move to Los Angeles.
In a radio interview on Tuesday, Wicker addressed talk of a new stadium for the Aztecs, saying that it will be one of his biggest priorities. Via Mountain West Connection, here are Wicker’s comments on the Mighty 1090 AM:
Two days ago, on the Mighty 1090AM, Darren Smith checked in with J.D. Wicker six weeks into his new job. During the talk, the stadium was discussed. Smith asked Wicker about it, and Wicker replied that around January, SDSU and San Diego will have a better understanding of what the Chargers intend to do long term.
He stated that he is working with SDSU President Dr. Elliot Hirshman, as there is financial work to be done, but San Diego State wants to create a stadium that is a good atmosphere for its students and fans- like Viejas. Wicker added that the stadium could be a 30,000 seat size (while in other reports describe 40,000 seats). Ultimately, he seeks a stadium more appropriate for what SDSU needs it to be.
One of the biggest factors in relation to the Chargers is timing. There are signs that San Diego officials are checking in on team’s decision, which the Chargers have maintained will not be announced after the conclusion of the NFL season. The Chargers have until January 15, 2017 to exercise an option to move to Los Angeles. If exercised, the option could mean that this current season is their last at Qualcomm Stadium, as they could spend two seasons at a temporary around Los Angeles before joining the Los Angeles Rams at a new stadium in Inglewood.
If they do stick around, the Chargers’ future at Qualcomm Stadium is less certain. While the team would need to continue playing there until a new facility in San Diego is constructed, Chargers owner Dean Spanos has previously said he is not interested in a new stadium in Mission Valley, the section of the city where Qualcommn Stadium is located.
The sooner the Chargers make a decision, the sooner SDSU will be able to undertake additional efforts related to the project. In addition to hosting Aztecs football, the proposed stadium has been mentioned as a possible home for an MLS expansion franchise.