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Penn State Professor Embarks On Nationwide Stadium Tour

Many students might recognize Dr. Jadrian Wooten from his economics lectures at Penn State. However, outside the lecture halls, you can find him in one of many stadiums and arenas across the United States.

Wooten’s love for athletics and spectating began in the student section of his alma mater, Sam Houston State. Now, it’s turned into a significant chapter of his life.

“When I first started, it was really just more like I would see games. I wasn’t actually going to see the stadium,” Wooten said.

Now, Wooten has visited dozens of stadiums across the country, many of which he could drive to. However, he’s been to so many stadiums within driving distance that he’s now flying to new venues to broaden his horizons.

Don’t get it twisted, though. Not every athletic venue is created equal in this official stadium tour, though.

“[Hockey and basketball], they’re technically arenas,” Wooten said. “They’re all kind of the same. And I think that’s my frustration with it. If you’ve been in the BJC, that doesn’t really look any different than like [other basketball arenas]. It’s a bigger version of an arena.”

Wooten’s experiences traveling around the United States to different stadiums have helped teach him what makes a stadium itself fascinating. He says he’s become a little more culturally immersed in each city he visits.

“I had never heard of Detroit-style pizza until I went to Detroit. I didn’t know that was a thing. It was delicious. I love that,” Wooten said.

A significant amount of his stadium travel has taken place during his work at Penn State. Since 2014, he has been working on campus and says one of the biggest perks of his job is traveling.

“I tried to go to two to three conferences a year to meet people do research stuff,” Wooten said. “Basically, in my free time in the evenings, I would kind of bounce around so we’d be busy during the day, and then afterward, I’d go somewhere.”

While many stadiums have welcomed Wooten’s presence, there are many more that Wooten wishes he could visit. However, his favorite stadiums include Michie Stadium (Army Black Knights football), PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates), Ford Field (Detroit Lions), PNC Stadium (Houston Dynamo FC), and FirstEnergy Park (Jersey Shore BlueClaws).

We couldn’t go forward without hearing Wooten’s favorite place to catch a game at Penn State. While he doesn’t count basketball or hockey arenas, his favorite sporting venue on campus is…none other than Pegula Ice Arena, the home of Penn State hockey.

“I try to think if there’s something better than Pegula, which will be weird because it’s not really [like] what I said. I don’t count hockey arenas as part of my trip, but Pegula is not a normal hockey arena. It’s very nice,” Wooten said. “Yeah, they did a really good job with Pegula.”

As time goes on, it’s clear that Wooten’s quest to visit stadiums across the country is far from over. Check out his expansive Twitter thread to keep up with each visit, check out photos, and learn some trivia about each venue.

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About the Author

Gabriel Herman

Gabriel Herman is a journalism major at Penn State from Minneapolis, MN. He writes about several sports-related topics. If you want to discuss great moments in Minnesota sports history, you can reach him at [email protected]

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