Local radio and TV stations are reporting that the Laurie family have relinquished their contractual naming rights to the much maligned Paige Sports Arena. While initial rumors suggested that there was a price associated with this gesture, the most recent information indicates that the Wal-Mart heirs have simply given Missouri the legal right to rename the arena. A statement is expected soon.
I know there are a lot of people who don't like Wal-Mart, but I have to say that this is a really classy move on the part of the Lauries. They're accepting responsibility for the actions of their daughter by essentially saying that she isn't worthy of having her name on an arena. They took the high road here, in my opinion, and, as much as it pains me to say it, the University of Missouri has something to smile about this chilly Tuesday eve.
UPDATE: It's official, or almost official...the Paige will now simply be another strange asterisk in that great mystery that is Missouri basketball. Like Ricky Clemons from a media guide picture, the Paige will be removed from the Sports Arena, according to the Kansas City Star. My favorite line from the article:
Alden, reached by telephone Tuesday as he drove to Kansas City for tipoff of the Tigers' game in the Guardians Classic basketball tournament, would not confirm the sequence of events that led to the Paige being the Paige for one of the shortest periods in building-naming history. Nor would Alden say at that point that the name change was a done deal.