Yesterday, the University of Houston released a detailed statement countering allegations made by the family of the late judge Roy Hofheinz, which filed a lawsuit earlier this month alleging the university's plan to rename Hofheinz Pavilion at the request of a benefactor who donated $20 million toward a $60 million renovation project is in violation of the original 1969 contractual agreement, when the Hofheinz estate forked over $1.5 million to help build the pavilion.
UH disputed the Hofheinz family's claims that the university breached that contract, saying instead that the school never agreed or intended to keep the arena named after Hofheinz forever.
"Our arena needs a massive overhaul and our students deserve better," the UH statement says. "The reconstruction of the facility will cost at least $60 million. We need to offer the naming rights to attract a significant donation to pay for the reconstruction. Without that donation, the reconstruction cannot happen."
As both UH and the Hofheinz estate admit, the Pavilion is currently in a state of disrepair. The Hofheinz family noted in its complaint that even the commemorative plaque in memory of Hofheinz is scratched and faded, calling it a "graffiti-covered embarrassment." Meanwhile, the university says it needs to "bring the basketball arena into the 21st century," as vice president for intercollegiate athletics Hunter Yurachek put it, according to the release.
"Unfortunately, buildings don’t last forever and our arena is obsolete and no longer competitive with other first-class facilities at major universities across the country," the UH statement says. "It is no longer a recruiting tool or representative of a nationally relevant athletic program."
They could maybe start by sprucing up that plaque.