“The University of Akron football team will be playing in a new home for the first time since 1940. The Zips first played football at Buchtel Field, but then moved to the Rubber Bowl a short time later. There’s no question their new home, known as InfoCision Stadium and Summa Field, will be arms and legs above their old one, with a state-of-the-art facility that is conveniently located right on campus, but this story is not about the Zips new home.””
The University of Akron football team will be playing in a new home for the first time since 1940.
The Zips first played football at Buchtel Field, but then moved to the Rubber Bowl a short time later.
There’s no question their new home, known as InfoCision Stadium and Summa Field, will be arms and legs above their old one, with a state-of-the-art facility that is conveniently located right on campus, but this story is not about the Zips new home.
It is an ode to the old one.
It is the tales of the Rubber Bowl: the good, the bad and the ugly.
The ugly just may be the shape the locker room was in toward the end of its 68-year run as the Zips football home.
The water, no matter what, came out brown at the Rubber Bowl, Zips senior offensive lineman Zack Anderson said with a laugh after his squad was done with a light scrimmage.
Mike Ward, a Zips junior offensive lineman, chimed in and said, Come on, I love taking showers in rust-colored water.
The squad, that was taking a break from the scrimmage, all started to laugh.
The laughs had to be cheerful ones as they no longer had to worry about rust- or brown-colored water.
Another forgettable feature that got cheerful laughs was the Rubber Bowl’s ceiling tile.
We were getting changed one time and the ceiling started leaking, Eric Lively, a former UA defensive lineman, said. As you were getting changed, you would just see the ceiling tile fall out randomly.
Elliot Bates, a senior offensive lineman for the Zips, said he recalled the ceiling tile falling out much like Lively did.
One time I think a tile hit a player, Bates said.
Ward was upset about the water and the ceiling tile, but he also called out the toilets at the Rubber Bowl.
The toilets might be as old as the school is, Ward said comparing the restroom facilities at the Rubber Bowl to the age of the university, which was founded in 1870.
One bad tale about the Rubber Bowl was the size of the locker room.
Lively said the locker room was crowded because every player that was a part of the team dressed for home games.
There were red shirt freshmen and people who didn’t play at the home games dressing for us, and those people weren’t there for the away games, Lively said. It was tough.
The freshman would have to share lockers, Bates said. I mean it was like sitting butt cheek to butt cheek in those things (lockers).
Another problem was the drastic weather conditions in the locker room.
It was always the same temperature in the locker room as it was outside, Anderson said. If it was 20 degrees outside, it was 20 degrees in the locker room.
And, there was only two electric heaters in the locker room when it was 20 degrees, Bates said with a laugh.
If the locker room was freezing on a 20-degree day, the shower was the complete opposite once a toilet was flushed.
When you were showering and someone flushed the toilet, the water would be scalding hot. It became kind of a rule. Don’t flush the toilet while someone was in the shower, Lively said.
Lively said, however, that players used to flush the toilets anyway just to get a laugh. They would flush the toilet and wait for the players in the shower to run out.
The water pressure was another issue in the Rubber Bowl locker room, he said.
The water pressure would hit you so hard that when you were washing your face it felt like you were getting hit with hail, Lively said.
It feels like hail when it hits you at first, but you get used to it, Anderson said looking on the bright side.
The bright side is what happened on field at the Rubber Bowl.
It is the good memories the players had – good memories like the 2005 season.
2005 was a good memory for me and the team, Lively said. It was the year we won the MAC Championship and got to play in a bowl game.
Another good memory in 2005 was the rivalry game against Kent State University.
We couldn’t see the opposite end of the field in the Kent State game because it was snowing so hard, Lively said. It was a great game to be a part of.
Lively said the good memories were great, but it was time for the Zips to move on and get into the new stadium.
The new stadium is going to be awesome, Lively said. They are going to be leaving the Rubber Bowl and it’s wooden lockers and mildew smell for brand new lockers, brand new plumbing, brand new everything.
Infocision Stadium-Summa Field is a $61.6 million facility that will seat a capacity of 30,000 people. It is located next to the Louis and Freda Stile Athletics Field House.
The new jewel on The University of Akron campus will have multiple amenities including 522 club seats, 152 loge seats, 17 suites including the 52-seat Presidential Suite and a state-of-the-art video board with a scoreboard and dynamic sound system.
I can’t wait to get in there, Ward said about having the chance to play in the new stadium. I would say it is the best stadium in the MAC.