To the editor:
I was interested to note in the Journal-World that Free State High School played a home game at Kansas University's Memorial Stadium on Friday. The rental fee for the game in KU's newly renovated stadium was given as $1,250.
The rental fee caught my eye because both Lawrence High School and Free State pay Haskell Indian Nations University $3,000 for each football game played at venerable Haskell Stadium. In addition, Haskell runs and retains the profits from the concession stands. What do Lawrence High and Free State get for this exorbitant fee? What they get is without doubt the worst playing surface in the Sunflower League the field is dangerously hard and uneven and this does not take into consideration the deplorable condition of the grass, even during the best of weather. They get lights that work most of the time. I would rather see our Board of Education build a district stadium than continue to waste money.
During my ten-year tenure as the supervisor of football officials at Haskell, I often inquired of athletic department officials about the field conditions. I was told that neither the maintenance department nor the athletic department were direct beneficiaries of the rent proceeds. Rather, the money went to an unspecified general fund. "No funds available" was the annual excuse for the pathetic and unsafe field conditions.
While I can appreciate the tradition of playing our high school games at Haskell Stadium, it is time that our school officials demand a better return on the tax dollars spent to rent Haskell Stadium. It is time for HINU to provide much better and safer playing conditions.