The New Stadium

I made a few posts early in December about attending a football game for the first time in many years.  I included some photos and a video which showed the dilapidated off-campus stadium that Florida Atlantic University’s football team  had been playing in, and I noted that the university would play in a new stadium on its main campus in Boca Raton this coming September.

Yesterday, FAU put the following animated video on YouTube showing what their shiny new facility will look like.  It is quite impressive.

I don’t agree with a public university building an expensive athletic facility in an economic climate in which the state government is drastically cutting back on funding education at all levels and raising student tuition and fees – especially when these conditions existed well before the groundbreaking for the new facility, with ample time for the university to reconsider its priorities.

The university would counter, I’m sure, that very little funding for the new stadium has come from public coffers – that funds were either privately raised from university supporters or came to the university as a result of offering their football team as sacrificial lambs to major college football factories.

In the latter case, FAU contracted to play games at the venues of several major college football powers, knowing full well that their team would not be able to compete against these much superior teams. In return they received large sums of money to offset the costs of their athletic programs and to provide major contributions towards building the stadium.  The major colleges have no concern that playing lesser competition would result in  lower attendance.  Their stadia will be filled to capacity regardless of the opposition.  Plus the guaranteed outcome pleases their fans and improves their won-loss records, enhancing  their prospects for invitations to major bowl games and their huge financial rewards.

In the past four years FAU played ten away games against such powerhouses as Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Michigan State, Minnesota, Kentucky and Florida – losing all of them by a combined score of 416 to 111.  The disparity in talent was even greater than the scores would indicate, in that their opponents would early on begin substituting freely with 2nd and 3rd string players.

I’m sure the FAU players enjoyed the experience of playing against these powerful teams in their huge and famous stadia before crowds of 70,000 to 100,00o and all the surrounding spectacle.

I wouldn’t have even the slightest concern were FAU a private institution. However, it is not.  As a taxpayer and a firm believer in the vital importance of education I believe these “slaughter” revenues should  have been used exclusively for purposes enhancing higher education, and that the football stadium project should have been deferred.  Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought that providing students a quality education at a reasonable cost was the primary mission of the university.     …………………………..Silly me!   😉

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4 Comments

Filed under Personal Views, Videos

4 responses to “The New Stadium

  1. Steve

    I agree with you but I suspect that we are in the minority, at least the minority of the people that decide these things.
    steve

    • Ed

      Sad – but true. But I can definitely guarantee you that there will me a major reordering of priorities when I take over! Heehee…..

  2. In the UK we don’t have so many of these huge stadia but one of the big ‘selling points’ here is community involvement and community use of the finished facility.

    In other words it should also be used by other groups of young people and adults who are not attending the college or university (or school). Since our Association Football clubs have their own stadia (almost without exception) we’re mostly talking about lesser teams and other sports, none of which has a fraction of the money which is lavished on ‘the beautiful game’!

    It seems a rather different perspective here without anything like that amount of commercialisation!

    • Ed

      Like most Americans I go gaga over anything that involves hitting, kicking, carrying, throwing or bouncing a ball. And I believe athletic competition at schools at all levels is a positive aspect of the educational experience for young people, whether they participate or just watch. It fosters a sense of pride and belonging; being a part of something greater than oneself that one can identify with long after his education is finished.

      Nevertheless, I can’t understand how institutions of higher learning can justify paying football coaches million dollar salaries, support them with armies of highly paid assistants and state of the art facilities plus build stadia costing in the hundreds of millions of dollars, while limiting the pay of tenured full professors to a small fraction of the coaches’ salaries and claiming that scarce resources require raising tuitions and fees. It certainly demonstrates that there is something radically wrong with our sense of priorities.

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