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Letters to the Editor

Athletic needs

June 2, 2011

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To the editor:

As a parent of a recent Kansas University graduate who was also an athlete, I want to thank KU Athletics for the amazing opportunity they gave my daughter. The tutoring and support were first class and the experience was unforgettable. The senior recognition banquet was fantastic. The athletes were treated like gold and the friendships will last a lifetime.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to a number of other campuses, and the facilities that we have to compete against are serious. We need to have a separate track facility and upgrade our softball and soccer venues. There wasn’t one university that had a combined track and football facility like KU does. We could move our fans closer to the action in football and be able to attract world-class competitors to our track program. We have a tradition in that sport that is the envy of other schools but our facilities are archaic and outdated.

With the recent ticket scandal behind us and fortunes looking up in football and basketball, the other sports need to be able to compete on an even playing field as well. KU is headed in the right direction with a Kansan heading up athletics. Now is the time for us as a community to help bring our great university facilities up to par. Thank you to all the people in the athletic department who kept their heads down and noses clean during those difficult times. The kids and parents appreciate your dedication.

Comments

jafs 3 years, 6 months ago

Lovely.

Not a word about academic needs, or how this student did academically.

I'm glad she had a good experience as an athlete, but that's hardly the main point of going to a university, in my view.

grimpeur 3 years, 6 months ago

While I agree that some facilities at KU need upgrading, athletic facilities are not among them.

It's not clear what is lacking in the writer's view of the existing outdoor track facility, which features a jumbotron, luxury boxes, plenty of space for field events, plenty of spectator seating, frequent new surfaces, a lovely setting, and Kansas Athletics, Inc's own hotel across the street (betcha didn't know that).

If the indoor facility is the one in question, then take the stripes off the field and voila! A track-only building and let the footballers practice where football is meant to be played: outdoors. On one of the five other football fields on campus.

The writer gives no examples of sub-par conditions, In fact, he only notes that the football and track facilities are combined. That a multi-purpose facility serves multiple purposes does not make it sub-par. It makes it sensible. Too bad this fundamental concept was so utterly trashed for the sake of constructing overblown facilities for a losing football team during the Mangino/Perkins megalomaniafest, They boot the Red Dogs from the stadium. They ruin one of the finest campus open spaces in the nation. They go from Orange Bowl to 5-7. They imagine they're being spied on. They come up with this Gridiron fiasco and expect the city to pay for the street reconstructions.

The experience of the writer's daughter is a ray of light in a cloud of greed, corporate malfeasance, and the lost priorities of a university that had better take this opportunity to get "its" athletic department under control. That sub-par classrooms and laboratories continue to crumble in deferred maintenance while ego-driven palaces to mediocrity are inflicted on the beauty of KU's campus is a shame.

Bruce Bertsch 3 years, 6 months ago

Grim obviously knows little about the track world. The track at Memorial is 440yd track in a world that requires 400 meters. The lanes are too narrow and there are not enough of them for world class meets, or even conference championships. As far as the softball venue, its obvious that the commentor has never seen the facility. As for "Ruining open spaces" the football offices were built in a graveled parking lot and the practice facilities were built on an unused concrete tennis courts and a parking lot. I guess we have a different view of "open spaces".

paavopetie 3 years, 6 months ago

Does a track really deserve it's own stadium? There's ample capacity for the Kansas Relays. If the football program can sell more tickets (if they aren't stolen/given away) by adding more seats if the track is removed, and that extra money can cover the construction and maintenance costs of a track stadium, then I'm all for it.

But it likely can't. And short of substantial private donations to KU Athletics, none of Mr. Jones' suggestions will be realized. Because KU proper sure as heck can't afford athletic venue upgrades given the state of some of their academic buildings.

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