Friday, May 25, 2007

Big 12 Athletic Facilities Arms Race

We just thought the Cold War ended in December 1989...the current arms race in Big 12 Athletic Programs puts anything that Reagan and Gorbachev did to shame.

We'll start with the primary participants...The University of Texas is America and OU is Russia. Not necessarily because OU has poor facilities, but because they seem to like to throw good money after bad instead of rebuilding some of their relics (Lloyd Noble Center is a DUMP so they prettied it up with practice gyms and new offices, L. Dale Mitchell Park is only slightly better than Dan Law Field, etc). Whereas UT seems to be doing things the right way (remodel of FEC, tear down and reconfigure at Joe Jamil Field at Darryl K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Disch-Faulk remodel, etc.).

But in this arms race, there are more than 2 "combatants".

You've Okie State spending money like it's going out of style (where can we sign up for "Alum with obscene amounts of money and no way to spend it all"??). a&m finally figuring out that something needed to be done about their poor excuse for a basketball arena (HEY! NEW SCOREBOARDS!) and adding a "practice facility" for football that looks like a big tent.

What is Tech doing?

WELL...that's not an easy question to answer. We have GRAND plans for Jones SBC...err Jones AT&T Stadium. Tear down the ticket office building, horseshoe in the North End, build an East Side building to balance out the Mega-West Side. Add a new Jumbotron on the South side! It will look FANTASTIC!!! But will any of it ever get done??? The West Side building was completed in 2003. I'll let that soak in for a was COMPLETED in the year of our Lord, two thousand and three. And what has been done to the stadium since then? Nothing. The East Side still looks like a glorified High School stadium. Can we PLEASE get on the ball about this???

Then there's the United Spirit Arena. Yes, it's the newest of our facilities (well, the ones that count, softball doesn't count.) It's still in pretty good shape, but it's no longer the Crown Jewel of Big 12 Basketball that some like to think. It's almost 10 years old now and needs a few upgrades. A ribbon scoreboard around the upper deck facade for one. New, larger training facilities (this is being addressed, supposedly). Another practice court or two are DESPERATELY needed. Some how I bet this never happens.

Now on the baseball. We almost had this:

...but Jody Nelson likes to steal money, so it fell through. And it would've been in Wolfforth anyways.

Dan Law favorite place while in school. But after having been back in the Hub last week, I can admit it's time for this one to go. (And while I'm here, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY MORE TO GO TO A TECH BASEBALL GAME THAN FOR A MLB GAME??? WHAT'S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE??????) What I would love to see happen to DLF. Tear down the existing stands, rebuild on the same land (the street's too close is my favorite excuse why we can't do it...I DON'T CARE, FIGURE IT OUT) this way Tech didn't just piss away ~$1mil for the baseball lockerroom facility. And PLEASE replace the corny combo turf/grass field with field turf.

I'll admit that Tech has been building at a shocking rate for the past 8-10 years, but why does EVERY construction project have to go through Lee Lewis? Especially since it seems that every one of their projects is a year later than expected (prime example: United Spirit Arena...suppose to open for the 1998 basketball season, didn't open til 1999...and it was BARELY finished then...)

A few things that Tech could do to help generate the $$$ to make these things happen: First off, let's copy oSu for once! Their website for construction at Boone Pickens World is brilliant. It lets people know EXACTLY what's going on. What stage it's in. How much money is needed. No wonder Tech can't raise any money for a Jones AT&T expansion, no one knows what the hell is REALLY in the plans. Secondly, give us young alums a chance to donate without feeling like if we don't donate $100 we're being cheap. Something as easy as a asking for a $5/ticket/game donation when buying season tkts that will go STRAIGHT to the Jones AT&T renovations fund. I'd do that. 5 games, 2 tickets=$50. Get most of your season ticket holders to do that and there's a pretty decent chunk of change to get things rolling.

That's all I've got for now.

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