IU, Purdue enter arms race

January 30, 2008
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Two donors recently came forward to support the $82 million renovation of Purdue University’s Mackey Arena.

Tom Spurgeon, a 1961 alumnus and current Purdue trustee, has contributed $3 million toward the project. The gymnasium in the student-athlete academic center will be named for Bob Holloway, a 1948 alumnus who has committed $2 million to Mackey.

There are several interesting elements included in the overall project--notably increasing the number of concession sale points from 12 to 48, and adding cushy club seats and two corporate entertaining areas. These extras will be significant revenue boosters for Purdue’s athletic department. And if fans drink more liquid refreshments, fear not, the renovation creates three times as many women’s restrooms than there are now and increases the number of men’s restrooms by 35 percent.

Other upgrades to the 40-year-old basketball arena include improved ticket offices and widened concourses. The project is designed to bring academic, athletic and training needs into one complex. Morgan J. Burke, Purdue's director of Intercollegiate Athletics, said the upgrades will be an important student recruiting tool.

With Indiana University also in a fund-raising mode for its athletic department, has an arms race begun between the in-state Big 10 rivals?
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  • I hate to see collegiate sports turn so professional, but I can tell you from my last visit to Assembly Hall that something needs to be done. The seats are narrow and too close to the ones in front and behind them. The handicapped accessibility to this facility is laughable and if a fire stuck during a game everyond could get out safely? I realize there's a captive audience for IU games, but that only goes so far. As an IU grad I to see the pendulum swing and Purdue grab a big advantage in marketing and recruiting. With a little marketing creativity on the part of IU officials, there'd be plenty of corporate and alumni support to make the needed upgrades. And in the long run, it would be good for IU, its alumni and students.
  • There has always been an arms race in B10 sports. It is just becoming more noticeable. With teams competing for recruits and dollars, who wants to play in an outdated barn when you can have the latest fabulous arena. Same with training facilities etc.... I think Purdue really raised the bar with the completed and proposed Ross Ade additions, causing iu and others to take notice. The Same with the upcoming Mackey renovations.
  • Personally - I am disappointed at universities in the US in general. It amazes me that most of the focus is on athletics, and other extracurricular activities. I think all in all it is a commentary (not a good one) on our society. Maybe if donors spent that much helping out with things that actually applied to the work of a university, we wouldn't be sliding down to where we are.

    For those that don't know what I'm talking about, here's the definition of university, borrowed from m-w.com:

    Main Entry:
    uni·ver·si·ty
    Pronunciation:
    ?yü-n?-?v?r-s?-t?, -?v?r-st?
    1: an institution of higher learning providing facilities for teaching and research and authorized to grant academic degrees; specifically : one made up of an undergraduate division which confers bachelor's degrees and a graduate division which comprises a graduate school and professional schools each of which may confer master's degrees and doctorates
  • disappointed with not disappointed at ...

    *sigh*
  • The people aren't lining up by the thousands to pay to see a Chemistry 101 lab. They aren't turning the station several times a week to see IU's Debate Team take on Northwestern's. They are devoted to and love the thrill of College Athletics and pay top dollar to do so. Most of the money raised in the Atheltic Dept stays there. IU and Purdue have no trouble getting massive donations to their schools academics and to argue that there is a funds disparity between the Academic and Athletics sectors in an unfavorable way is crazy. Athletics are becoming more high profile, but donations to Academics are quite high.

    IU's Assembly Hall was built 4 decades ago for what would be small change by today's standards. It's paid for itself numerous times and it's time to fund a new one. Athletics provide a presitge and culture to a school moreso than any other part of it. I don't think that is so wrong. I could foresee situations where the line can be crossed, but we are nowhere close. IU and Purdue are realizing that their venues need attention and they are going about it in a respectful manner that doesn't tread on the Academic nature of both Universities. I donate to both IU's Athletics and Academics and will proudly do so for the rest of my life.
  • A schools public image will now and forever be tied to its athletic
    accomplishments and image. How many people travel to the Bug-Bowl compard to to the Rose or Capital One bowl or whichever bowl IU is going to lose in every
    10+ years. It is something to be proud of and embrace.
    If you want to support the academics, hire an alum from
    that school.

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