Has Phil Knight ruined Track Town along with Hayward Field?

The Oregonian’s Ken Goe reports here:

… The Ducks had just one regular-season home meet in 2017 and two 2018, in part, because of delays in Hayward’s reconstruction timeline.

There were no home meets this year. Next year is in question. The NCAA championships, held at Hayward from 2013-18, have moved to Austin, Texas, for this year and next.

The NCAA meet is scheduled to return in 2021 and 2022. But there is pushback among college track coaches in other parts of the country to the idea that Eugene should become the meet’s permanent site, the way Omaha is for NCAA baseball’s College World Series.

The new stadium will have 12,500 permanent seats, making it significantly larger than historic Hayward Field, which sat no more than 8,500 without temporary bleachers and often was not more than half full.

The new version should work nicely for the annual Prefontaine Classic and the 2020 Olympic trials, which have been awarded to Eugene, assuming the stadium is finished by next summer. But the trials only happen every four years and are unlikely to take place in Eugene forever.

When the 2021 World Championships are over, it looks for all the world that the University of Oregon will have a track stadium built for major meets that afterward will fill for … what?

“Tractor pulls?” asks Peter Thompson, a coach and former senior manager with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), who makes his home in Eugene. …

 

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