Stadium status

June 7, 2010 

It's quite a contrast: As the University of North Carolina system pleads with legislators for money to avoid layoffs and cutbacks, well-Tar Heeled backers of big-time football at UNC-Chapel Hill fork over big bucks for luxury suites and "upper loge" boxes in an elaborate addition that will rise five stories at the east end of Kenan Stadium. The $70 million Center for Excellence will also include athletic and academic support facilities for all Carolina teams.

Quite a package, and if any tears are to be shed for the vintage 1927 Kenan Fieldhouse the center replaces, they can be diluted with the wine or beer that will now, in a first, be served up to the high rollers.

Supporters of this new pleasure palace are entirely right to say that comparing the privately funded center and the tax-supported UNC system is hugely unfair - apples and oranges. Surely they're correct. The difference is as at least as great as that between the luxury suites and the open-air end zone seats at the stadium's far end.

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