Fake news? TU says Tulsa World lockerroom story is ‘inaccurate”

Tulsa University is accusing the Tulsa World of inaccurately portraying the process of renovating the football locker room.

On May 27, World sportswriter Bill Haisten, citing anonymous sources, criticized the TU administration for not completing the project on schedule.

According to Haisten’s story, “A source said that the locker-room project is delayed because of university red tape — because ‘everyone dragged their feet’ — and because TU leadership figures were concerned about the possibility of a disapproving response within the university community.

“There apparently was concern about the perception of a football improvement coinciding with university budget problems and the loss of support-staff jobs.

“A source close to the Hurricane program indicated that coach Philip Montgomery has graduated from frustration to anger.”

In a press release, TU contradicted the World story:

“The Tulsa football locker room renovation project has been approved and will commence following the 2017 football season. Saturday’s Tulsa World report, via sources, did not in any way accurately describe the facts nor the ambitious timeline that faced the locker room project and the reason for the post-season start date.

“As is the case with all university building projects, the Building and Grounds Committee of The University of Tulsa’s Board of Trustees must give final approval. After securing this approval February 8, the first of weekly meetings with Hastings & Chivetta Architects, Inc., the original designers of the Case Athletic Complex, commenced on Feb. 16. The extremely tight window from start to completion of the project did not allow much room for delays in the bidding phases. The goal of an August 1 completion date became increasingly unattainable, and displacement of the football team from its locker room facility during preseason camp through the month of September was not the optimal solution. Thus, the decision to start construction of the completely new locker room facility following the 2017 season was made.

“As we move forward, the football locker room renovation, which is privately funded by long-time athletics donors, will be thorough and to the established specifications.”

Comments from Coach Philip Montgomery run contrary to the World report.

“We’re excited about our new locker room and certainly appreciate the support we receive from our university’s administration,” Montgomery said. “The disruption of our team’s preparation from the start of camp through at least the first five weeks of the season would not be beneficial towards our success in 2017 and is something I did not want to undertake. Although we are disappointed that this project was unable to be completed by the start of the season, in no way did we want to jeopardize the thoroughness of the renovation. I appreciate the work that everyone involved with this project has and will do, to see it through to the end.”