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Berry Tramel: Cowboys still need indoor football facility

by Berry Tramel Published: August 16, 2009
en a building fund reaches $300 million, brick and mortar need to fall quickly in step.

"It’s disappointing, but it doesn’t do us any good to look back,” said OSU athletic director Mike Holder.

Holder wears a black hat in this story. But he wears an orange hat, too. Without Holder and his salesmanship skills with Pickens, there’s no money in the first place, OSU is playing football in a relic called Lewis Field, and the Cowboys’ long-term fortunes are very dim.

Pickens, who first pledged $70 million in 2003, and Holder are the reasons the shining new football stadium exists, and that magnificent structure is the single most important development in the history of OSU football.

But the big, empty lot across Hall of Fame Avenue from the stadium serves as a great reminder. OSU got greedy the same way America got greedy, thinking the good times couldn’t end, not realizing that some wealth is built not on rock but sand and that what’s inflated can be deflated.

Holder’s stated goal was to have enough money to not only build facilities but to keep them maintained, which is solid strategy.

Trouble is, other facilities — new baseball, softball, track and soccer stadiums — were to replace existing venues. Baseball could use a new stadium, but Reynolds Stadium is not an embarrassment. Softball could use a new park, but Cowgirl Stadium is adequate.

There is no substitute for an indoor practice facility, which would help every sport, but football most of all.

"We’re just waiting to find the money,” Holder said of the $50 million project. "This is a time just to try to hold onto what you’ve got.”

What OSU has is an empty lot where could have stood a building to shelter the football team.

Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080; Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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