Is Legislature Balking at Matching Funds for Cowboys?

Tracy Ringolsby

With a swimming program that has a future tied to the University of Wyoming providing a pool that meets NCAA standards, and the west stands of War Memorial Stadium vividly showing it's age more than 50 years after they were built, the Cowboys have requested a $37.5 million matching fund from the state legislature.

Talk around the Capitol, however, has not been promising.

In discussions with several local folks with ties to the Capitol, there is a growing impression that the Senate members of the Joint Appropriations Committee could stonewall the matching grant.

This comes after Gov. Mark Gordon, previously the state treasurer, included a $25 million recommendation for the swimming pool project, aware that having to find a replacement for swimming in both the men and women programs would lead to much higher costs.

If the Cowboys were to be forced to drop swimming they would have to add an additional sport to the Athletic Department roster or they would lose their Division I status. The school current has the fewest number of NCAA sports for a Division I school.

While the pool would be a major investment, the travel, uniforms and such for swimming are minimal compared to the programs with more extensive needs in terms uniforms and equipment. 

When the legislature granted the matching funds money for the refurbishing of the East Stands, and construction of the Wildcatter Suite the indicated plan was to wait a few years and then deal with the decaying structure and sub-standard restrooms on the west side of the stadium.

The state is facing a changing economic environment, which has led to some hesitation, but there needs to be a long-term vision in light of the expectation the building costs will only grow over time.

Anyone who has strong feelings on the revamping of the West Stands and the pressbox can contact members of the Joint Appropriations committee with the following emails:

committee
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