Stadium makes big sucking sound

The proposed price tag of $250 million is a lot for indoor recess, people.

Adri Mehra

Back in ye olden days of the mid-1990s – when the Macarena was steppin’ and Ice Cube was still reppin’ – Purina introduced a bacon-flavored dog treat called “Beggin’ Strips.”

I recall this product not for the memory of its distinct smokehouse flavor, but rather its grating-as-any-fathomable-hell TV ad.

In this commercial, a dog hoofs it around the house like a holy terror shrieking “Bacon!” over and again, possibly driven by the smell of his own fart.

This behavior is what comes to mind when I picture the regents getting together with lobbyists for the on-campus stadium.

Yes, friends, the Great Gopher Sell-Off continues unabated – tuition increases that go straight to feeding administrative wallets, Coca-Cola controlling what we put in our bodies and now a four-square court that costs a quarter-billion dollars.

And why stop there? Let’s rationalize spending twice the gross domestic product of Palau by selling the last ventricle of the University’s beating public heart to TCF Bank, which, through naming rights, gets to make a $35 million withdrawal from the soul of this ATM we call our college.

In an age in which the price of tuition has increased 77 percent in the time it takes to get a four-year degree (which is five years because you have to take a year off in the middle to pay for it), I don’t think an elaborate concrete playground should even show up on the sonar of the sinking sub of this school.

Of course, it’s easy to tack on a few dozen dollars to the $610 in mandatory “Student Services Fees” each of us will be shelling out next year.

Never mind that this probable $50 annual increase will come at the expense of important cultural and advocacy organizations which already receive less than $20 from that $610 per student every year. And oh yeah – I nearly forgot – the fact that all of this is for grown-ups to throw around an inflatable ball.

Another winning solution to paper over the asscrack of this fiscal idiocy is to pass the donation hat to the next pew – the state – which quickly becomes a self-defeating prophecy, because the Legislature will remember this come budgeting time.

What the hell is wrong with us? Is this really what higher education is for?

The fact is that there are too many tens of thousands of students whose dreams are not at all aligned with the imaginary statistical fate of a group of people playing with Nerf toys in what amounts to an expensive yard.

“We’re going to have to have corporate sponsorship to build this stadium,” University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter gravely tells anyone who will listen.

What about building a university that’s valuable and accountable to its students? Perhaps a few pennies in the fountain of the arts to stop the bleeding of the best creative minds to places that blow, like Duluth and Iowa?

It’ll never happen as long as the regents are nutbars for their stadium-flavored dog treats, chasing the scent of their own expulsion of hot air.

Fare thee well, Goldy Go-For-Broke. I, for one, am glad it’s fourth down and I can see the end zone of my career here. I don’t want to be around when there’s no choice but to punt.

Adri Mehra welcomes comments at [email protected]