UT President Joe Johnson said yesterday in an Associated Press story that
there is not a relationship between students' activities fees and a future
basketball hall of fame.

He added to his argument by saying that the men's athletic department does
great deeds for the entire campus, such as the $200,000 it has committed to
retiring bonds to pay for a commuter garage, not to mention the people that
athletics attracts to our campus and the needed diversion it creates for
many.

Still, his logic does not wash well. Sure, the athletic department is
self-supporting, but it does get $1.4 million from student activities fees.
Even if only one cent of that money is specifically allocated to the
proposed $750,000 project, students' money is still involved. That amount
of money would only be a drop of what's needed around here, but it's still
embarrassing that we would be so extravagant.

And what are they planning to build for $750,000? That's a heck of a lot of
money to pour into something so frivolous. You could build a small academic
facility, contribute to parking or put incredible observatory equipment on
top of the Physics building.

SGA President Matthew Gregory has taken a distinct stand against the
decision of the Board of Trustees to institute a hall of fame, and rightly
so. WHERE ARE OUR PRIORITIES?

Commemorating our rich history is a great idea and should be accomplished
when nothing else exists. A much more modest amount of money was
recently designated for the bicentennial Academic Hall of Fame. The
African-American community also instituted a hall of fame this semester in
the Black Cultural Center. All these things will serve well as models of
excellence for posterity, but not everybody needs to jump on the bandwagon
all at once. Why not incorporate a special exhibit in the Neyland-Thompson
Sports Complex that would not cost nearly as much? Blow up some
photographs, put some jerseys behind glass and commission a painted mural.
A couple thousand dollars, maybe. We need to spend money to ensure that
this university will have a future, so never mind about leaving something
to remind future generations how great we were. Besides, the university
exists for its students; we have the right to be in the decision-making
process.

Pat Head Summitt is not jumping at the heels to construct a hall of fame
for her nationally-ranked, title-winning Lady Vols basketball team. If any
sports team on this campus deserves recognition, it is definitely the Lady
Vols. Let's rethink our responsibilities, shall we.