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How Innovation Trumped Tradition: Raise Our Championship Banners in Matthew Knight Arena

It's been over 3 years since the opening of Matthew Knight Arena on the campus of the University of Oregon and while the majesty of this amazing structure shines as a beacon towards technological and architectural innovation, there is something very tangible missing from this new home for many Oregon Ducks Athletics programs.

Sure is dark up there in the rafters. Seems like something is missing...
Sure is dark up there in the rafters. Seems like something is missing...

Or should I say, "many somethings".

For those that had become familiar with the hallowed halls of the old Mac Court, modern amenities at the new arena have become a new normal. Four times as many toilets, spacious concourses, modern concessions, and a giant center court video board allow Matthew Knight Arena to make the fan experience jump ahead by leaps and bounds. It can be loud, there isn't a bad seat in the house, and it represents what Oregon itself has sought to become known for... a tradition of innovation.

Unfortunately, in the case of Matthew Knight Arena, we've sacrificed some our most sacred traditions for innovation and many people may not even realize it.

If you've never been to MKA, you'll be impressed as you look out over the court for the first time. In front of you, the giant video board. To your left and right, the steep bowl of seats that you and your fellow fans will enjoy. You'll probably look even look down as you trip a few times on the changing grade of the steps. Just make sure to look in one more direction while you're there.

Look up to the rafters.

You'll see a microcosm of the University of Oregon drive towards innovation. Gigantic fans circulating air, giant beams supporting the system and a state-of-the-art fire suppression system that helps to keep the arena safe in a unique and powerful way. Unfortunately, that same fire suppression system has a deep dark secret to it. It's role in the new arena is obvious and plain to see.

However, the problem isn't about what you see. It's about what you don't.

Those "many somethings" I was referring to are present in almost every arena across the country. In fact, they still exist over at Mac Court but are noticeably absent from the rafters of Matthew Knight and that needs to change.

We're missing our banners.

The 1939 National Championship, the first ever NCAA Championship in Men's Basketball, one of the greatest honors the University of Oregon Athletic Department can pride itself on is missing from the rafters at their modern home on campus. That banner representing our tradition hasn't moved to the new home of the Oregon Ducks Men's Basketball Team. It remains in the past, hanging aside all of the other conference championships across sports who used to call Mac Court home.

We have a modern arena to enjoy the golden age of Oregon Athletics but that arena is missing the tributes to the golden movements from years gone by. After three years attempting to make Matthew Knight Arena the new home of the Oregon Ducks, it's time. The tree-filled floor and "Deep in the Woods" moniker is no longer enough. We must do what it takes to finally make this new arena our "home".

Recapture our tradition. Raise our banners in Matthew Knight.