Final Four court assembled in Arizona's NFL stadium

The University of Phoenix Stadium that will host the NCAA men's championship Final Four this Saturday - and Monday's subsequent national title game - has put considerable effort into temporarily affixing the 700-ton scoreboard to its retractable roof. Planks of sturdy maple are eventually shipped to Idaho Falls for layout, painting and staining.

It took just a few hours for the University of Phoenix Stadium operations crew to assemble the court at what normally would be midfield for the stadium's chief tenant, the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

"Colossus was first imagined by Bruton and Marcus Smith, so we knew it would be big", said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at BMS, referring to the NASCAR Hall of Famer and his son, Marcus, who now heads up the family business at Speedway Motorsports Inc. that owns Bristol and six other NASCAR tracks.

"As Champion of Environment, our goal at Connor Sports is to provide our NCAA customer with the best possible court products using responsible forestry practices", said Jason Gasperich, director of sustainability for Connor Sports. An NBA court is 112 feet or 120 feet by 60. Doug Andrus Distributing will also deliver the women's Final Four court to Dallas for games Friday and Sunday.

When the tournament ends, the championship school has the first option to purchase the court.

Saturday's NCAA Final Four National Semifinals will feature Gonzaga against SC at 6:09 p.m. North Carolina against OR follows 40 minutes after the completion of the first game. In the rare occurrence that no one buys it, it is recycled for the next year.

Two seasons ago, the first NCAA Division I football championship under the new four-team playoff format was held there.

  • Julie Sanders