Wednesday, July 11, 2007

U's Stadium Dream Runs Into Financial Reality

UD Comments On BigU's
Continuing Stadium Saga

Wherein (Joel) Maturi Talks About Himself

Mr. B. gets tired, believe it or not, of ranting about BigU's follies. Makes him seem like a bitter old curmudgeon. Old, maybe, but not bitter. His students are great, even if we are not at the third greatest public research university in the world.

Anyway, the inimitable UD, comments today on the latest developments:

Fat Men Are One Thing.
Stupid Are Another.

Type TCF STADIUM into the Search feature up there and enjoy a full plate of UD posts over a couple of years about the University of Minnesota's fiasco. (Here's a sample.)

And all because men are dumb. They get way excited about big ol' sports stadiums for their universities, and only after spending hundreds of millions of dollars realize that they can't afford them.

"I think Joel Maturi kind of naively thought that there might be, you know, a little bit more success in the corporate world from a philanthropic standpoint," Maturi, the university's athletic director, said as he sat in his office. "We're not giving up." Sadder but wiser Joel refers to his earlier incarnation in the third person. He's worked out his naivete thing, and UD's happy for him.

For those closely involved, the fundraising drive so far has been a lesson in what is possible -- and what is not. The university can only look with envy at places such as Oklahoma State University, where financier T. Boone Pickens pledged $165 million to athletics last year, and at Ohio State University, which completed a $200 million renovation of its landmark 105,000-seat football stadium. [Imagine looking at schools like these with envy. Unlike them, the University of Minnesota used to be intellectually distinguished. People like Joel are seeing to the end of that.]

Mr. Bonzo was thinking about putting something about this up, but it is so hard to keep up with these folks. Reminds me of the whack-a-mole game. Have a look at UD's post. She is an English prof and much better than Mr. Bonzo at making the comfortable uncomfortable.