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Will Rupp Arena redo tear apart Kentucky fans?

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08:43 AM ET 07.07 | For Jeanette Hislope, a proposed renovation of Rupp Arena that includes private suites, loge boxes and a members-only lounge is a desecration. It tears apart the Kentucky basketball family. So to read last week about a survey asking fans if they'd buy suites, exclusive club memberships and other amenities to help pay for a re-invention of Rupp Arena disturbed Hislope's sense of right and wrong. "I sat here and cried," she said in a telephone conversation Friday. A self-described "good old girl from Somerset," Hislope spoke of a UK fan base united behind its team. Rich and not-so rich. Black and white. Men and women. Boys and girls. "It's like we're all in this together and we're all one big family," she said. "That's what I like. To me, it's all about being part of that crowd, and somebody you don't know yelling in your ear and high-fiving you when we make a three-pointer." The proposed renovation of Rupp Arena brings home what Harvard profession Michael Sandel calls the "skyboxification of American life." People go their separate ways depending on what they can afford: Different schools, different jobs, different lives.

Kentucky Sports

Rupp Arena, Getty Images Rupp Arena, Getty Images
July 7, 2013  09:06 AM ET

She should be crying over the sad state of public education in Kentucky rather than it's basketball team. But people have their priorities.

July 7, 2013  09:38 AM ET

Skyboxification of American life refers to the lack of frequent opportunities for people with different socio-economic statuses to engage with people from other backgrounds in everyday life.

July 7, 2013  09:38 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Skyboxification of American life refers to the lack of frequent opportunities for people with different socio-economic statuses to engage with people from other backgrounds in everyday life.

Economic segregation?

July 7, 2013  09:39 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Economic segregation?

What would Roman emperors do?

July 7, 2013  09:43 AM ET

Rupp hears about this, they'll be laughter in the mausoleum.

July 7, 2013  09:45 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

What would Roman emperors do?

There the ones who gave the games to the masses.
Separation by class was their idea.

July 7, 2013  09:47 AM ET

Private suites for the boo$ter$, loge boxes for the AAU coaches and a members-only lounge for the street agents.

July 7, 2013  10:07 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

Skyboxification of American life refers to the lack of frequent opportunities for people with different socio-economic statuses to engage with people from other backgrounds in everyday life.

As an career educator, been seeing this for years.

In providing the opportunity you describe LF, my experience indicates that "one high school" towns do so the easiest. Those schools seem to be made up of students with wealthy parents, poor parents, middle income parents, etc and they better understand each other's circumstances.

July 7, 2013  10:19 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

As an career educator, been seeing this for years. In providing the opportunity you describe LF, my experience indicates that "one high school" towns do so the easiest. Those schools seem to be made up of students with wealthy parents, poor parents, middle income parents, etc and they better understand each other's circumstances.

I was surprised to see it making academic radar screens. It seems sports always gets a free pass on following mores of general society.

July 7, 2013  10:36 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

As an career educator, been seeing this for years. In providing the opportunity you describe LF, my experience indicates that "one high school" towns do so the easiest. Those schools seem to be made up of students with wealthy parents, poor parents, middle income parents, etc and they better understand each other's circumstances.

Quite so, DC. I remember when El Paso Chapin and Franklin high schools were built. The wealthier parents immediately wanted to buy a home within those school lines (this before open enrollment, mind you), because of the "shiny new penny" perception.

Naturally, the older high schools and their neighborhoods were immediately looked upon as urban blight. I tend to think that this kind of economic segregation is an anathema to American society. But you can't change the way people think. Money (or the lack thereof) is, more than titles, determines the crude aristocracy in the US of A.

To be sure, this pattern is and has been repeated all across the continent. It contributes to suburban sprawl, paves over arable land, and is cancerous to Mother Earth. But I digress. Frankly, I'm not at all surprised at Rupp's makeover proposal. It's just a reflection of American values today.

July 7, 2013  10:44 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Quite so, DC. I remember when El Paso Chapin and Franklin high schools were built. The wealthier parents immediately wanted to buy a home within those school lines (this before open enrollment, mind you), because of the "shiny new penny" perception. Naturally, the older high schools and their neighborhoods were immediately looked upon as urban blight. I tend to think that this kind of economic segregation is an anathema to American society. But you can't change the way people think. Money (or the lack thereof) is, more than titles, determines the crude aristocracy in the US of A.To be sure, this pattern is and has been repeated all across the continent. It contributes to suburban sprawl, paves over arable land, and is cancerous to Mother Earth. But I digress. Frankly, I'm not at all surprised at Rupp's makeover proposal. It's just a reflection of American values today.

100% correct

July 7, 2013  10:46 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Economic segregation?

I'll recognize that phrase as a ninja'd, LF.

July 7, 2013  10:55 AM ET

Some interesting thoughts today on equality/segregation/economic status etc. Before you know it, this site will be known for its profound insights instead of just a bunch of guys who like college football. In keeping with todays' topic, I will point out that societies throughout the world have seperated themselves along economic lines. Our society is one of the few, if not only, that has not institutionalized the seperation. We don't have a royalty, caste system or other contrivence to enforce economic seperation. We allow, and sometimes encourage, people to better themselves and cross over the atrificial lines of economic segregation.

July 7, 2013  11:00 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

I was surprised to see it making academic radar screens. It seems sports always gets a free pass on following mores of general society.

Just to extend this argument, we need look no further than the ancient Roman Coliseum for an example of the interior seating arrangements reflecting a caste society. The nobility and the rich got the best seats in the arena, while the poor sat in the nose-bleed seats. Bread and circuses, anyone?

July 7, 2013  11:05 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Some interesting thoughts today on equality/segregation/economic status etc. Before you know it, this site will be known for its profound insights instead of just a bunch of guys who like college football. In keeping with todays' topic, I will point out that societies throughout the world have seperated themselves along economic lines. Our society is one of the few, if not only, that has not institutionalized the seperation. We don't have a royalty, caste system or other contrivence to enforce economic seperation. We allow, and sometimes encourage, people to better themselves and cross over the atrificial lines of economic segregation.

I believe this economic segregation to be de facto, if no longer de jure, DS. And I disagree with you on segregation along economic lines. Jim Crow laws disenfranchised black Americans not only racially, but also from free market participation in American commerce.

There's the ideal, then there's the reality.

July 7, 2013  11:13 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

I believe this economic segregation to be de facto, if no longer de jure, DS. And I disagree with you on segregation along economic lines. Jim Crow laws disenfranchised black Americans not only racially, but also from free market participation in American commerce.There's the ideal, then there's the reality.

Agree on the Jim Crowe laws. Sorry for the oversight. However, it is true that we are a very open society. That is principle reason immigrants wish to come here. The chance to better their living condition is greater here, than in the rest of the world.

July 7, 2013  11:25 AM ET
QUOTE(#16):

Agree on the Jim Crowe laws. Sorry for the oversight. However, it is true that we are a very open society. That is principle reason immigrants wish to come here. The chance to better their living condition is greater here, than in the rest of the world.

I think that's the underlying reason why KY fans decry the Rupp Arena renovation, DS. It flies in the face of the American sense of community, common purpose, and democratic interaction in a public setting of an open society.

I agree absolutely that the USA remains a land of opportunity for those who want to work hard. I don't even have an issue with how people spend their hard-earned bucks. It's their business. But economic stratification is a fact, and many wealthy people in this country use their dollars to insulate themselves from the great unwashed of American society. Thus the "skyboxification" metaphor.

July 7, 2013  11:37 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

... from the great unwashed of American society.

I resemble this remark.

We have been referred to as "oil field trash" for several generations.

July 7, 2013  11:43 AM ET
QUOTE(#18):

I resemble this remark.We have been referred to as "oil field trash" for several generations.

And yet, if your folks had been lucky enough to own the mineral rights to the land that pumped up that black gold, you'd be one of the "nouveau riche" oil barons of West Texas rather than "oil field trash." Funny how sudden wealth confers sudden status. Remember the movie "Giant"?

 
July 7, 2013  11:47 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

I think that's the underlying reason why KY fans decry the Rupp Arena renovation, DS. It flies in the face of the American sense of community, common purpose, and democratic interaction in a public setting of an open society.I agree absolutely that the USA remains a land of opportunity for those who want to work hard. I don't even have an issue with how people spend their hard-earned bucks. It's their business. But economic stratification is a fact, and many wealthy people in this country use their dollars to insulate themselves from the great unwashed of American society. Thus the "skyboxification" metaphor.

As a principal, I can't count the number of times I heard the term, "I don't want my kids to go to school with 'those' kids." This was the reason most given when parents decided to withdraw and home school their children. I had a big problem with that reason.

I never had a problem with the parents that did so because: (1) They wanted religion taught to their children (2) They didn't feel the academic rigor was high enough. I was 100% accepting of those reasons because the public schools couldn't teach religion and I often agreed with them about the inconsistency of rigor.

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