New ODU Stadium Hits Road Block: Review
Old Dominion University Athletic Program is undergoing a big change. This change is mainly caused by the extreme growth in the universities football program. In five years’ time the program was able to start from scratch and become a powerhouse in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Now the program is moving on to become contenders in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) the highest level in college football and the Monarchs are members of Conference USA. This change requires the Monarchs to have a stadium with at least 30,000 seats to host the bigger schools that would one day play the Monarchs at home.
In the fall of 2013 Old Dominion University (ODU) announced they wanted to build a new 30,000-seat stadium to replace Foreman Field, where the past 35 home games have been sold out (Minium & Walker, 2014). ODU put in a request for funding from the Virginia General Assembly. Former Gov. Bob McDonnell agreed to set aside $1.5 million of the Virginia two year $96 Billion budget plan, if ODU could show they have enough private donations for the project construction (2014a). Both the Virginia House and Senate have agreed to continue with McDonnell’s original budget plan by granting the University $1.5 million for a yearlong study. The Virginia House lifted the using private donations clause. But, the Senate wants to require ODU to use private donations for the overall construction of the stadium. Local Hampton Roads Legislators are lobbying to change the language of the Senate budget because of harsh restrictions placed on the University. Senator Kenny Alexander does not think it’s fair to apply restrictions on ODU. Since those same restrictions were not applied to other university’s when they were expanding/building their stadiums. Those same state universities used student fees, fundraising and revenue generated by the stadium to fund their projects. ODU wants to stick to their word and not raise student fees and find other sources for funding because relying on private funds will not suffice. ODU and officials really want to clear up the wording in the Senates version, so when the in depth study is complete the University can develop a funding strategy that will focus on everything but raising student fees.
ODU is really showing its commitment to the student community by focusing on building its athletic program as well as improving the campus. Campus officials are trying to find ways for funding the growth of the University by using other resources then student fees. The Officials of the project are going about planning in the most cautious way by looking at every detail. They are trying to get the House and Senate on the same page with the University. Those same officials are attacking the wording of the Senate’s version due to the unrealistic restrictions that have not restricted other state schools. ODU really wants the General Assembly to have an open...