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ATQ Exclusive: Matthew Knight Arena Deemed Structurally Unsafe, Oregon to Move Back into Mac Court

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This could potentially be the worst stadium foul-up in sports history. At least the floor looked cool.
This could potentially be the worst stadium foul-up in sports history. At least the floor looked cool.

From Mac to Matt, and now back to Mac.

Following the most recent event at Matthew Knight Arena, a concert featuring country group Lady Antebellum, structural engineers representing the state of Oregon performed a thorough inspection of the structural skeleton of the building and have found enough damage to the framework of the site to declare Matthew Knight Arena a catastrophic failure, unusable without a complete demolition and rebuild. The root cause of the structural problems is unknown at this time, but the damage is too great to continue using the building. According to Director of Building Codes Division for the state of Oregon, Jason DiMartini, state officials have been intently monitoring the building throughout the 2011-12 academic year, as there have been a number of minor incidents that have given the state cause for concern. Now that the investigation has been completed, we can now provide you a list of the events in question.

  • October 20th, 2011 - Matthew Knight Arena operations managers report to the state moderate cracking in the concrete supports beneath the east concourse. The six cracks measured between 3-5 feet in length, with little to no particulate coming completely off the pillars.
  • November 6th, 2011 - Director of Athletics Rob Mullens, along with state and University officials, meet with an independent panel of architects and engineers, and the group concludes that the arena is still seismically viable, and sees no reason to alter the schedule of the upcoming basketball season.
  • December 26th, 2011 - During a mandatory monthly inspection, a portion of the rafters near the west end of the arena is found to be twisting toward the center of the building. Two rivets are found to be flawed, and are replaced.
  • February 22nd, 2012 - The east end of the building is found to be 5 centimeters further west than it was at the arena's opening, and the west end is 3.6 centimeters further east. It would appear that the entire building is being compressed into the center.
  • March 29th, 2012 - Matthew Knight Arena is deemed a catastrophic failure, meaning it will have to be completely demolished and rebuilt if it is to be used again.
What does this mean for Oregon athletics? In the short term, it means that the 2012-13 volleyball, basketball, and acrobatics and tumbling seasons will be played in Macarthur Court. But that's too easy an answer. This is a PR and logistics nightmare for the Oregon Department of Athletics. There are now about 2000 more men's hoops season ticket holders at the Matt than there are total seats at the Mac. Mullens and company will be not only dealing with the matter of choosing who gets to keep their tickets, but all season ticket holders will have to be refunded a substantial amount of money. Oh, and there's the small matter of a $300 million dollar sports arena that is now completely useless. Whatever extra money the athletic department thought they had is gone. Cas Center renovation? On indefinite hold. The dream of an indoor track facility? Still a dream. Heck, the athletic department might want to think about selling the Jacqua Center to the University.

Oregon fans have been nervously awaiting the NCAA's sentence for the Willie Lyles scandal, hoping it won't be a huge obstacle for the Ducks. But it is a poorly designed basketball arena that will set the entire athletic department back decades. Addicted to Quack will continue to update this story as it progresses. Click HERE for the interview with BCD Director DiMartini, and photos of the damage.