Browns in Oberlin?
by Ian Haynes
the Cleveland Browns hired head coach Butch Davis, one of his first
moves was to suggest that the team move away from their training
facility in Berea, Ohio for part of their summer training camps.
The top four schools mentioned as possible sites to move the team
to were Kent State University, Hiram College, Ohio Northern and
the surprise of the bunch, Oberlin. This information was mentioned
late in March of this year.
The story surfaced in the local media [The Morning Journal]
with the Browns, under new coach Butch Davis, wanting to find an
isolated location for their training camp instead of right now staying
in hotel rooms in Berea. Oberlin was mentioned along with a few
other schools who were lobbying pretty heavily to bring the Browns
to their schools, VicePresident for College Relations Al Moran
Through the next few months the other schools were eliminated as
candidates for the training camps until, at this point, only Oberlin
and the Browns current training facility are left. The Browns
have visied the campus on several occasions, have toured the facilities
and been in contact with the school over the past few months.
We have talked to the Browns on several occasions and the
way the College looks at it is if it works out its just like
another summer conference. We have summer conferences when we have
no academic programs underway, the dorms and the fields are vacant
and if we can work something out, we work something out, Moran
The school is not going to benefit like other schools would
have like Nicholls State in Louisiana when they brought the Saints
or St. John Fisher in Rochester when they brought in the Bills.
Those schools brought in the NFL teams not for making money as much
as using the link with the NFL for recruiting, publicity and visibility.
St. John Fisher used the training camp to help recruit athletes.
Having the Browns come isnt for the reason of publicity. We
are known as a highly selective academic institution. We are hoping
they come here because of the economic impact they would have on
the city of Oberlin, Moran said.
For the town in terms of outright consumer spending, bringing
the Browns to Oberlin would greatly increase money in the town.
Studies have been conducted in other towns hosting training camps
and have shown that these camps can bring in high six figure to
seven figure amounts of money during the time they are going on,
head football coach Jeff Ramsey said.
The Browns coming to Oberlin, while not signifying any major changes
on campus, would provide an economic boost to the community. Taking
a look at the economic impact that the Saints training camp had
on the Houma-Thibodaux area in Louisiana: the direct spending in
the area generated by the training camp was through the roof. In
2000, during the 31-day camp, direct spending attributed to the
camp was slightly over $1.4 million. Total spending attributed to
the camp ended up at just over $1.6 million. An estimated 75,000
fans swarmed the southern Louisiana area during the training camp,
looking for souvenirs, food and lodging, among other things. This
provided a number of opportunities for local merchants and distributors
to cash in on the influx of people to the area.
Money generated from tourism, though, was not the only money being
inserted into the local economy. The Saints themselves spent nearly
$814 thousand during their 31-day stay. The money was paid to the
college for rent and other services, to the food services and numerous
local vendors. Expenditures also included temporary labor, shirts
and uniforms for workers and equipment rental.
For Oberlin, hosting the Browns summer training camps could
prove beneficial. Not only does it provide a boost to the economy
it brings in a number of people, many of whom might never
have come to the town.
The way the Browns are playing, they way they are turning
their program around successfully, you would assume that they would
draw summer visitors into the area and then they would be able to
visit the Allen Memorial Art Museum, the restaurants and they would
stay in the Inn and surrounding areas, so the economy would get
a good boost, Moran said. In the meantime, the Browns
have been to visit the campus twice, they have checked out our facilities
and they seem to be adequate, so we dont have to put up any
new buildings right now or change any of our facilities, but if
they decide to come here we might have to do some minor things like
getting extra long beds for the dorms and portable air-conditioning
units for the rooms.
The city would benefit from this deal because NFL teams tend
to be a benevolent organizations in the fact that they want to give
back to the communities and the small towns and that such a deal
would bring people who might otherwise never visit the town or the
college here, Ramsey said.
of this point, the College is waiting on word from the Browns to
see if the situation is workable, if in which case it is, then both
sides would need to sit down and work out some sort of contract.
A letter requesting a proposal has been sent to the Browns organization
and the College is awaiting response.
From a financial standpoint, the College is looking for the Browns
to pay for the use of our facilities. We are welcoming the
Browns to use our facilities, but Oberlin College being a non-profit
organization and the Browns being a for-profit organization would
pay for the use of our facilities, Vice President for Finance
Andrew Evans said.
A proposal is expected sometime in the near future. We expect
to hear from them before too long. Since the season is going on
right now, everyone in the administration is busy. We are expecting
to hear from them once the season ends, Evans said.
Though the emphasis of the Browns coming to Oberlin is on the economic
boost for the community, ultimately the College stands to gain from
the deal. As mentioned before, people who might never come to this
campus now have a chance to see it. It gives people the chance
to see the campus, to see the new science center, to see that this
is a beautiful campus. That is where the College really stands to
benefit, Ramsey said.
From an athletic standpoint, having the Browns here could benefit
recruiting throughout all sports, not just football.