Mizzou Arena could become the new moniker for MU’s new basketball building, but the label is already drawing opposition from state Sen.-elect Chuck Graham and Tiger basketball fans who want the arena named after longtime MU basketball coach Norm Stewart.
The University of Missouri Board of Curators will vote at
2 p.m. Friday on whether to name the building Mizzou Arena. A resolution calling for the name change has been drafted by MU Chancellor Brady Deaton and endorsed by UM President Elson Floyd.
After issuing a news release Wednesday and urging university officials to name the building for Stewart, Graham later expressed reservations about Mizzou Arena.
“My initial concern is that they’re picking something generic in order to sell naming rights later,” Graham said. “The people and fans of this state would like to see it named for Norm Stewart.”
Curator Don Walsworth said he has heard suggestions that the arena be named in honor of Stewart, the late Gov. Mel Carnahan or the late Gen. Omar Bradley. But he likes the idea that’s on the table.
“I am very much in favor of naming it Mizzou Arena,” Walsworth said.
“This is a subject that has brought a great deal of concern, and the board feels it necessary to clarify the situation,” UM spokesman Joe Moore said. “This is the recommendation of MU administrators.”
Graham said naming Faurot Field after former football coach Don Faurot was a good decision, and Norm Stewart should be given the same honor.
“Don Faurot was MU football; he was the best coach the football team ever had, and I think the same could be said for Norm Stewart,” he said. “My initial reaction to (Mizzou Arena) is that it is about as inspiring as the season so far.”
MU is searching for a new name for the arena since Bill and Nancy Laurie, who contributed $25 million toward its construction and then named the building after their daughter, Elizabeth Paige, relinquished naming rights on Tuesday. That decision followed ABC’s “20/20” report on Friday in which Paige Laurie’s former roommate, Elena Martinez, said she was paid $20,000 over three years to write dozens of papers for Laurie at the University of Southern California.
USC sanction guidelines state that the punishment for submitting purchased papers done by others is a failing grade in the course and a recommendation for further disciplinary action.
“Simply put, we are going to talk to Miss Laurie and Miss Martinez and understand the truth of what is going on,” USC Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Jackson said Wednesday.
USC rules regarding academic dishonesty include a review by the Office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards, which could lead to revocation of the degree. The review also allows students defending themselves against allegations to be represented by an adviser, who can be a licensed or practicing attorney.
Jackson said the Laurie case is unique. “I don’t know of anywhere in America that can thwart such a diabolic scheme,” he said.
“We try to recruit good students that have strong academic values,” he said. “You have to trust that these persons will have a certain level of integrity and trustworthiness, and we reinforce that any way we possibly can.”