Just a few weeks ago, a facility renovation five years in the making finally came to fruition, as supporters of the Miami Hurricanes Baseball Program celebrated the dedication of the completed “Alex Rodriguez Park,” in Coral Gables Florida. A-Rod Park was funded in part by the controversial major leaguer of the same name as he made a donation of approximately $4 million in 2003. Although Rodriguez never played for the Hurricanes, he was heavily recruited by the program before signing a major league contract in the early 1990s.
Rodriguez’s gift is rare, but not an anomaly in collegiate athletics, as professional athletes have been contributors to major projects in the past. What is unique about this situation is the recent developments surrounding Rodriguez’s professional career and his admittance to using performance enhancing drugs. What, if any, long term effects might this have on the University of Miami? In addition, what example might this be setting for student athletes on the baseball team? Continue reading
While serving as event manager for UC Davis Athletics, I was fortunate enough to be on staff the same time a new football stadium was opened…fresh for the 2007 football season. The new facility, compared to larger FBS football stadiums, lacked luxury items such as suites, giant video screens, creative variety in concession offerings, and even lights for night play. However, what it lacked in luxuries, Aggie Stadium made up for in one admirable policy…zero waste.
Zero waste practices, while in place at some college dining commons around the nation, are still nearly impossible to find in athletic facilities. Not to be confused with a standard recycling programs that handle plastic bottles and sometimes paper, zero waste, in this context, simply means that all products of the facility (from the concession stands to the restrooms) are either recyclable or compostable. In theory, if no outside “items” are allowed into the stadium, the standard trash dumpsters after a home football game will be empty. Food wrappers, cups, paper products sold or distributed are all recyclable and uneaten food and other specialty items (such as eating utensils made of potato or corn byproducts*) are compostable.
Zero waste programs were designed with one goal in mind: to have a smaller impact of the environment due to the disposal of garbage from an athletic event. However, as noted in the November 10th issue of the Sports Business Journal, like programs can also save facilities money on waste disposal. Although not a college facility, the Seattle Mariners have apparently saved over $40,000 in trash fees by implementing a more aggressive recycling program at Safeco Field.** With the incredible benefit to the environment and to the facility/universities involved, it is surprising that more schools are not catching on.