The Driver Suit Blog-My Thoughts on the Wintrust Arena

By David G. Firestone

I’m a graduate of DePaul University, and I’ve distanced myself from the University in recent years because they’ve made a number of decisions I disagree with. The coddling of students is something that needs to stop, because while they are coddled in college, real life isn’t as kind and sympathetic. Some recent firings have also been controversial as well.

But something that really confuses me is why DePaul needs the Wintrust Arena. DePaul for reasons that escape me decided that they need a basketball arena, and after a deal with the City of Chicago. Of the $179,000,000 that is being invested in this project, $103,000,000 of that comes from public funds. DePaul is on the hook for $70,000,000.

This is more proof that DePaul has its priorities all wrong. The City of Chicago is in financial trouble, as is the state of Illinois. Yet $103,000,000 of PUBLIC FUNDS are being used to build an arena for DePaul Basketball. Does anyone else besides me see something wrong with this? Furthermore, this deal was announced at around the same time the city decided to close 50 schools for budget reasons. So not only are you selfish, you clearly don’t care as much about education as you claim, because if you did, you would avoid an arena, and help the CPS out.

Another question that needs to be answered is “Do the basketball teams at DePaul need a new arena?” Based on my research, I would say no. The Men’s team since 1990 has made the NCAA Tournament a total of four times, only making as far as the second round in 2004, which was the last time they made the tournament. While they have had some success in the NIT, their season records aren’t that of a winning program.

The Women’s team has had much more success. Since 1990, they have made the tournament a total of 20 times in 26 seasons, with a number of high seeds, and making it as far as the Sweet Sixteen. They are a winning program. That being said, taking everything into account, I can’t say that DePaul basketball should spend $70,000,000 with another $103,000,000 from public funds that could be better used on a basketball arena.

The kicker is that while DePaul had no problem shelling out $70,000,000 for an arena they are going to use for 60 days a year, they had a real problem with being able to use the United Center RENT FREE FOR 10 YEARS! You read that correctly, DePaul had the option of using the United Center, which is closer than their current venue, The Alstate Arena, and The Wintrust Arena, RENT FREE FOR 10 YEARS, meaning they wouldn’t have to spend money on rent. For reasons that escape me, they turned it down, in favor of the current plan. This makes everyone involved look bad.

I’ve made it clear that I will NEVER donate anything to DePaul, I don’t go to alumni events, I don’t follow the sports teams, and this is why. The upper echelon of the University has their priorities wrong. $70,000,000 is a lot of money and could be better used for education, you know, WHY UNIVERSITIES EXIST IN THE FIRST PLACE! Make departments better, fix infrastructure, do more for the students, use the money better. If DePaul needs to spend $70,000,00 on a pointless arena…they are never getting one penny from me or my family. Don’t call me or email me…you are just wasting your time.

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