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Leaving Kyle Field for renovation will have punishing results

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012

Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 02:09

If one goal stands paramount for students, former students, local business and Texas A&M leadership above all, it’s renovating Kyle Field the right way. To that I add this: do not allow a single home snap to escape College Station — ever.

I know first hand I am not alone in my sentiments.

Many local businesses have already cried murder regarding potential financial losses if football must leave for even one season. Their concerns, as shown recently, are very legitimate.

According to an Oxford Company economic study, $86 million of business sales would be lost if A&M abandons football at Kyle Field for a single season. Broken down further, $21 million would be lost in household income and roughly 1,000 jobs would be jeopardized from the lack of sales alone.

The real whopper? $177 million in gross revenue would be sucked from the community and as many as 2,400 jobs, many of them held by students, would no longer exist.

Needless to say, the impact would be devastating.

Do these businesses owe the University for providing them consumers, employees and sustenance? In most cases absolutely yes, but this doesn’t mean A&M can just leave them out to dry. These businesses largely provide the infrastructure for student sustenance — food, work, leisure, living quarters, etc. — that enhance A&M by default. To burden the community, even with the promises of increased revenue, would greatly compromise that infrastructure.

Leaving Kyle Field would also be egregiously unfair to students, the heart and core of the experience in A&M football.

Incoming freshman would be left without a live orientation to one of the most glorious experiences A&M has to offer. Upperclassmen, particularly seniors, would be deprived of this same experience in their final opportunity to witness the greatness that is Kyle Field. Lest we forget, many of these students — right, wrong or indifferent — attended this University because of its ultimate recruiting tool: the experience of Kyle Field.

Less pressing, but still of importance, is the reduction in home field advantage for the football team.

There is a statistically significant difference between playing at home, in neutral or away environments. With many students without the financial means to travel to an off-site location for games, the advantage from playing with the 12th Man is significantly reduced. And oh yeah, remember how the Kyle Field atmosphere attracts students in droves? It attracts student-athletes as well.

And we wonder why Kevin Sumlin asked to make Kyle Field louder through renovations, to make the impossible possible. The answers are obvious.

It’s time to make the impossible possible. Keep Aggie football at Kyle Field.

 

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