Do sports justify eminent domain?Hentges, the brothers' attorney, questioned whether an athletic village really supports the public spirit of eminent domain. But Mike Holder, the university's athletics director, said athletics and academics are directly related. "Each athletic team is an extension of the university,” he testified. "What happens in athletics also affects the future of the institution. It's a way to express (that) you're striving for excellence.” Successful sports teams lead to donations and gifts to the university, Holder testified. And they get graduates back on campus and lead to future student enrollment, he testified. After the judge announced his decision, Holder and Kevin McCloskey shook hands and chatted briefly. "I'm a supporter of OSU,” McCloskey said. "I think he is ... one of the best fundraisers on Earth.” The $316 million athletic village sits on an 80-acre site north of Boone Pickens Stadium. The complex will house an indoor multipurpose training facility, baseball stadium, track, soccer and indoor as well as outdoor tennis facilities. Boone Pickens, a Texas oilman and OSU alumnus, donated $165 million for the village.
He said they won't be looking in Stillwater anymore. He compared the university's bid on his and his brother's rental home as offering a "Timex for a Rolex.” "I was willing to do things which I thought were extremely fair,” he testified. The brothers lost a court argument in April when the judge ruled they could not question the validity of the OSU Board of Regents. They argued the board was unconstitutional because at least five of its eight members were not farmers, which the McCloskeys said was required. Kevin McCloskey testified he was confused whether it was OSU or a foundation that wanted the land, and whether that entity had eminent domain power. He said he never got a straight answer. He said officials on behalf of OSU tried to induce a sale by showing him how much the university was paying for other properties. But while his property was a half-block away from campus, the properties shown to him were at least six blocks away, he said.
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Kevin McCloskey, left and his lawyer Harlan Hentges leave Judge Michael Worthington's courtroom Monday. BY Sherry Brown, Associated press
What is eminent domain?Eminent domain is the power to take private property with just compensation for public use by a government entity.
How is it used?Universities have used eminent domain rights since the 1950s, said Wendell Pritchett, a University of Pennsylvania professor specializing in property law. Public universities like OU and OSU generally have an easier time exercising this power, even though Pritchett said a growing trend is for cities to use the threat on behalf of private schools. Still, he said, a public university typically can get the land it wants cheaper.