New athletic facilities plan is wrong for the University

by Willard Shapira, University alumnus

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and athletics director Norwood Teague are totally distorting the mission of our beloved university with their wrong-headed plan to raise millions from the private sector to expand the facilities of the Department of Athletics.

Athletics have absolutely no connection to the purpose of the University (education) and would take away from private donations to vital education projects.

I also refuse to believe our sell-out governor will not, at some point, find a way to get state money involved, just as he did for a Vikings stadium.

What difference does it make to anyone whether the University not only wins or loses but even competes at any level in intercollegiate athletics except those whose careers depend on sports?

Our teams not only lose more than they win but have brought scandal and shame upon the University by the misbehavior of our “student athletes.”

I suggest students, faculty and others who back education over big-time sports publicly condemn this plan, call for Kaler and Teague to withdraw it, urge prospective donors to sports expansion to rethink their plans and to publicly call upon Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature to stop this plan in its tracks.