Decals perfect mask for MU

Friday, December 3, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:45 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A coverup has happened at Mizzou Arena.

On Norm Stewart court, that is.

While the name on the outside of the arena formerly known as Paige has changed, a reminder of the academic scandal was painted in black.

Kevin Fletcher, with the MU athletic department’s media relations, said one resolution could have been to strip, sand, paint and refinish the entire floor—a 10-plus-day process.

With the Tigers’ basketball programs in full swing, that would be impossible.

The other option, Fletcher said, would be to focus exclusively on the area with the name. That option was rejected because of the risk of an uneven finish on the floor. This led the department to a better alternative: decals.

The NCAA uses decals to hide school’s names and logos on the courts picked to host its men’s and women’s tournaments.

Work began Wednesday to fix the court’s blemish, and Fletcher expected the new name to be in place by the end of the day Thursday.

The new name will make its debut on the court tonight for the women’s basketball State Farm Tiger Classic.

Bill and Nancy Laurie, who donated $25 million toward the arena’s construction and stipulated it be named for their daughter Paige, relinquished their naming rights after a woman claimed on ABC’s “20/20” that Paige paid her to write papers and complete coursework at the University of Southern California.

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