MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium has gotten a lot of attention lately. And the talk has ranged from it getting a major sprucing up and a new name – to it being ignored completely in favor of a new stadium somewhere on the University of Memphis campus.
U of M president David Rudd sort of ignited the conversation when he challenged us to imagine the possibilities that come with the school being one of the two top tier universities in the state, and those possibilities could include an on-campus stadium.
That got the sports radio talk shows buzzing about whether a new stadium is realistic or pure fantasy. Then last week, the Daily Memphian reported that Arkansas-based Simmons Bank is buying the naming rights to the stadium. And this week, mayor Jim Strickland weighed in – telling talk show host Geoff Calkins that an architect has been hired to study stadium renovation ideas. But Strickland added those ideas could also include a new stadium.
So there you have it – another public discussion about sports arenas. And it’s a conversation worth having. Yes, this city has lot of priorities. So does the university. And critics will argue we already put too much emphasis on sports. But I agree with Rudd. Why not imagine what’s possible.
That does not mean a new stadium is imminent. It simply means we should think and act as if we belong in the top tier.