Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
SIU Considers Removing Donor's Name From Ball Field
UPDATE 6:05 P.M. and OCTOBER 24, 2013
CARBONDALE -- The SIU Board of Trustees will consider renaming its Carbondale Softball field next month. Right now, the site bears the name of local businessman Barrett Rochman, but he pleaded guilty last week to bid-rigging charges.
This is unfamiliar territory for SIU. Rochman gave a large donation to the women's softball team 10 years ago, solidifying the name Rochman Field. But now he is looking at a possibility of 10 years in prison and a million dollar fine, and the school is considering a name change.
"Barrett is a longstanding supporter of Saluki Softball, and not just financially, but I mean he had an affinity for softball. He was a coach, a long-time coach in the area," says Softball coach Kerri Blaylock.
On October 17th, the same man pleaded guilty to a bid-rigging scheme with a former Madison County treasurer that bilked money from property owners. The treasurer made the same plea back in February.
So it begs the question, "Should SIU rename the field?"
"Obviously it's a federal offense, but I think donors are taken very seriously at this university because it's important not only to the alumnus, but it's important to the students that go here," explains SIU Sophomore Zachary Jarecky.
Freshman Logan Thornton says, "If everything he's done in the past were worth naming the fields after him, I think that they should definitely kind of just stay with it for now, kind of just go with it."
But it turns out, the Rochman family supports changing the name. In late August, they sent a letter to SIU's Athletic Director asking the field be renamed after long-time softball coach Kay Brechtelsbauer.
"At the time we received the letter, we weren't aware that there were any potential issues and we took the letter at its face value and we still do, that he wanted to name the field after the coach and it is certainly consistent with statements he made 10 years ago when he made the gift," explains Rae Goldsmith, an SIU spokesperson.
It certainly gives SIU an easy out of the situation, but a homerun on the ball field.
Goldsmith says the university has a naming policy to refer to in situations like this, but Rochman's letter makes that unnecessary.
The Board of Trustees will take up the naming issue at its November 14th meeting.
CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - Administrators at Southern Illinois University are considering whether to rename a softball field bearing the name of a donor who's pleaded guilty to his role in a bid-rigging scheme.
The school's Board of Trustees will consider stripping Barrett Rochman's name from the Carbondale field during next month's meeting.
Rochman was one of three people who pleaded guilty last week to conspiring with a former Madison County treasurer to rig property tax auctions. Prosecutors say the trio orchestrated a multi-year "pay-for-play" scam that cheated property owners out of about $2 million in excessive interest and penalty payments.
SIUC President Glenn Poshard says Rochman's family requested the name change in August.
The school is considering whether to rename the field after former softball coach Kay Brechtelsbauer.
Wind: 12 MPH
Humidity: 78 %