Thursday, December 11, 2008

Indianapolis' Version of "Pay to Play"; CIB and Colts Extract Money From Indiana High Schools

One good thing about the Lucas Oil Stadium is that our community has an opportunity to use this facility, built with taxpayer dollars, when the stadium is not being used by the Colts or other events are happening at the stadium. Or so we thought. Bob Kravitz yesterday had a column on how the IHSAA had to pay $261,000 to the Capital Improvement Board and the Colts in order to use the facility for the state football finals. The cost is $100,000 more than what IHSAA paid to use the RCA Dome.

Let me try my elementary math skills on this one, taking into consideration the old RCA Dome deal with the Colts versus the Colts' new deal at the Luke. RCA Dome: CIB gets $161,000, Colts nothing. Lucas Oil Stadium: CIB gets $130,500, Colts get $130,500. Let's not forget that when the spring flooding hit the state and tornado hit the Indianapolis eastside, the Colts put up a whole $50,000 in response...assuming of course the public could match the organization's "generous" gift. Fortunately for this community, the Colts' players are much more generous than their owner.

Kravitz calls on the Capital Improvement Board to reconsider the charge or, in the alternative, suggests that the Colts give back some of that money the Colts are receiving. He suggests that it would be a public relations disaster for the CIB and Colts if the high school finals are forced to go to another venue rather than the one paid for with our tax dollars. Since Bob is a sports guy, we will excuse him for not paying more attention to local politics. First, the CIB has a history of ignoring what the public wants regarding the Lucas Oil Stadium. Second, as long as the Colts keep winning and have a shot at the Super Bowl, public opinion in this city will tip in the Colts' favor regardless of what the organization does to the taxpayers. The Colts have previously been asked to reconsider parts of the unconscionably favorable contract with the CIB (thank you Fred Glass) and the response from the Colts has always been that the are just a "tenant" in the building. I am not sure how many apartment owners have a deal where they get half the revenue of the apartment complex they live in, but that is the deal the Colts have. Even that is a bad analogy...the Colts only "live" at the stadium for 10 dates a year.

Unfortunately, Kravitz's thoughts on the subject are likely to be the last...unless some politically savvy member of the Indianapolis City County Council sponsors a resolution asking that the CIB request a much more reasonable price for the IHSAA to use the taxpayer-funded Lucas Oil Stadium and/or that the Colts kick back their share. That resolution possibly embarrass the CIB and Colts enough to make changes. Unless an elected official is willing to speak up on this issue, this is a round that our high school kids, dreaming of playing at the Luke, will lose.


Anonymous said...

This legal theft will never stop; as long as people believe or want to believe the lies about the minuscule impacts related to tourism, conventions and sports events. It also won't stop until people stop being so self-indulgent and actually care about the greater impacts of decisions beyond their own wants, desires and needs.

Frankly, there needs to be a quid pro quo. The schools need to open up their school libraries and gymnasiums for their neighbors to use for a no fee or no more than a nominal fee (to cover expenses) just as city facilities should be available to the schools and the public for no cost or nominal cost. Since taxpayers are paying for the capital and operational costs of these facilities, they should be provided the benefits.

I appreciate the lawsuits you have filed with regards to some of the other unethical, illegal practices by government; it means more to me than you will ever know; It is issues likes these that make me wish I had become a lawyer, so that these unethical contracts and practices could at least see the light of day.

If there is anyway, you or someone else could find something illegal about the contract with the Colts, it would be much appreciated by many people who are considered by the power structure to be simpletons who just don't know any better.

Anonymous said...

Hoosiers will pay any sum to appear "legitimate" to the rest of the country.

Hoosiers need the Colts, as the Colts are the proxies of the residents, beating other cities, periodically, and giving these Hoosiers a sense of pride in place that is otherwise unobtainable, unjustifiable and objectively absurd.

Sure, Indy may be an uncultured, boring, dump vis-a-vis San Francisco, but if the Colts beat the '49'ers, Indy triumphs, and the Hoosier has proof he lives in the better city.

Without the Colts, Indy is mentioned on television only in May, and not in any sort of competitive context vs. other cities.

For a place with a massive inferiority complex, communist snatching from everyone's purse is a small price to pay for therapy and manufactured civic pride.

indymoon said...

This issue seemed to just go away. Why is that?

Well, it was not solved by the IHSAA increasing the price of admission 50% when the games were moved to LOS. Because the original article was written after those games.

Guess who is now the title sponsor for the IHSAA Football Championships? If you guessed the Colts, you’re right.

So what happened here. Obviously, the Colts agreed to waive all or a portion of their take from the IHSAA rent for use of LOS in exchange for this sponsorship opportunity. But this was never reported. All of a sudden the issue went away and the Colts are hailed for another example of their community commitment.

Smart move by the Colts. They are a savvy organization. I imagine they orchestrated this whole thing and required all to keep the specifics quiet so they look like the good guy when in fact their 50% cut of the LOS rent caused the problem in the first place.