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Archive for Saturday, January 7, 2006

KU approves $6.5 million loan for football facility

January 7, 2006

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It's still fuzzy how many steps are left, but Kansas Athletics, Inc., climbed another Friday in pursuit of a new football facility.

Athletic director Lew Perkins requested an emergency meeting with the Board of Directors through e-mail Thursday, asking each member to vote on the department incurring debt toward the construction of a massive football project, which will cost between $30 and $40 million.

According to the letter sent by Perkins, one of KU's donors offered a $6.5 million, interest-free loan. Kansas wouldn't be obligated to pay it back in full until Jan. 1, 2017, though the department could start paying off the debt beginning in 2009. Perkins wrote that he expected the loan to be refunded through donors and fund-raising.

Associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said the motion passed unanimously Friday, with one board member unable to vote.

"It's significant in the fact that it brings us one step closer to getting serious on a timetable," said Marchiony, who couldn't identify the donor.

Marchiony hinted that an announcement was coming soon, though he said no tangible

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advancements - such as blueprints - had been finalized.

Kansas has been aggressively raising funds for the facility for more than a year. If completed as envisioned, it would be constructed adjacent to Memorial Stadium and feature a locker room, weight room, meeting rooms, offices and a nearby practice field.

A preliminary artist's rendering obtained by the Journal-World showed two separate buildings - one on the southeast side of the stadium, and one on the hill southwest of the stadium. The rendering isn't thought to be the final draft, but, like that design, it's unlikely the finished product would block the view of Campanile Hill.

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Gordon leaning?: All indications are that KU junior Charles Gordon, who's been unavailable for comment, still hasn't made a definite decision about his future, though it appears he's leaning toward skipping his senior season and entering the NFL draft.

A source familiar with Gordon's situation said Friday that Gordon had asked the NFL Advisory committee for assistance in gauging the league's interest. The committee's job is to project where underclassmen like Gordon would be picked if they were to enter their name into the NFL Draft.

Gordon has until Jan. 15 to apply for early entry.

- Sports reporter Ryan Wood can be reached at 832-7152.

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