O'Colly Causes Stir With Phantom Holder Quote

The message boards and Stillwater area sports talk shows were all abuzz Tuesday over stories in The Daily O'Collegian, the Oklahoma State student newspaper. The story and an editorial were written about a quarterly planning meeting between OSU officials and the Stillwater City Commission that was attended by new Vice-President for Athletic Programs and Intercollegiate Athletic Director Mike Holder.

The story included a quote from OSU official John Houck saying that Holder wanted Hall of Fame Avenue permanently closed and that the north side project at Boone Pickens Stadium was going to be delayed in being finished until 2008. The editorial directly attributed those thoughts to Holder.

Both were inaccurate, according to Holder, who said while he attended the meeting he never spoke during the proceeding. First, the north side project at Boone Pickens Stadium will be ready for the start of the 2006 football season. It may need additional work as the south side did, but it will be ready for use. It is easy to identify that by just checking the enormous progress being made on the project.

Holder told me Tuesday that he does favor closing Hall of Fame because of its close proximity to the north side of the stadium and the future plan of building additional athletic facilities across from the stadium on the other side of Hall of Fame Avenue. The projects will cause a large amount of pedestrian traffic crossing that street.

Getting back to the stadium, while the north side will be completed on time, the west end or Phase III of the project will be placed on hold indefinitely until the athletic department can make up the debt it is currently responsible for on both the Athletic Center and the stadium. Holder says the department is maxed out on borrowing and needs to be responsible in the financial area. Holder is also concerned about advancing with projects that directly benefit the student-athletes at the University.

Holder laughed off the O'Colly story and many of the posts he saw criticizing him on Internet message boards. His hope is that in the future he will be quoted only when he speaks up and that media outlets will quote him accurately.

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