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The Daily Tar Heel

Officials Hope Donors Will Fund New Video Board

Director of Athletics Dick Baddour said his department doesn't want corporate funding to subsidize the proposed video board.

UNC Director of Athletics Dick Baddour said he has been looking to obtain a video board for Kenan Stadium for the past five years and hopes to have it installed before the fall 2002 football season.

But he said he is not exactly sure where the funds will come from for the board, which could cost between $500,000 and $1 million. "We expect it to come from private donations," Baddour said. "We do not at this point expect that it would come from the athletic department's operating budget or from the students."

Baddour also said the Department of Athletics does not want to look at the possibility of permanent corporate signage around the video board to defray its cost.

For years, corporate influence upon the University has been a point of contention for administrators and students, especially with the athletic department's multimillion dollar contract with Nike.

Baddour said the video board could flash some form of corporate messages but that he hopes to keep Kenan Stadium free of permanent corporate signage to maintain the integrity of the facility. "It's so much a part of our culture," he said. "It's our goal to protect that as long as possible."

While there is no written policy that prevents the inclusion of corporate sponsorship in UNC athletic facilities, officials say they are trying to keep the facilities as free as possible from corporate influence. "We have corporate signage in every facility except men's basketball and football," said Steve Kirschner, director of sports information.

Kirschner said most other facilities have removable signage, such as the banners around Kenan track and the removable signs on the Boshamer Stadium scoreboard, which was installed last fall with a video screen. Kirschner said he also would like to see Kenan Stadium and the Smith Center free from corporate signs as long as feasible.

But Faculty Council Chairwoman Sue Estroff, an outspoken opponent of corporate influence upon UNC, said she is concerned that the University has been tainted by the company signs already on campus.

Estroff said it is a priority of hers to keep Kenan Stadium and the Smith Center free of corporate signs. But she also questioned the validity of the athletics department looking to fund a video board. "It's hard to think of spending a million dollars on a video screen when it could be spent on so many more computer screens."

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