Friday , Nov , 26 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Missouri renames arena due to Wal-Mart heiress scandal

=== Missouri renames arena due to Wal-Mart heiress scandal ===

Columbia, MO (Sports Network) – The University of Missouri Department of
Athletics has renamed its new basketball arena “Mizzou Arena,” effective
immediately. The decision comes on the heels of a report that 22-year-old Wal-
Mart heiress Elizabeth Paige Laurie, for whom the arena was originally named
“Paige Sports Arena,” cheated her way through college.

“We’re pleased to have a new name for our facility that is representative of
our University,” said Missouri Director of Athletics Mike Alden.

Laurie’s billionaire parents agreed earlier this week to give up their naming
rights to the $75 million basketball arena, which was built with a $25 million
donation from the Lauries and opened three weeks ago. Wal-Mart co-founder Bud
Walton is Elizabeth Page Laurie’s grandfather.

Upon the recommendation of University of Missouri-Columbia Chancellor Brady J.
Deaton and endorsement of University of Missouri President Elson S. Floyd, the
UM Board of Curators Friday approved the resolution to renamed the arena. The
vote was unanimous.

“We’re very appreciative to the Board of Curators for moving so quickly to get
this matter resolved, and also to the Laurie family for their assistance and
cooperation. This has been an unfortunate situation for all parties involved,
and we look forward to moving on and getting back to business at Mizzou Arena
— a facility in which we are very proud to call home,” Alden said.

The scandal surfaced last week, when Laurie’s freshman roommate at the
University of Southern California, Elena Martinez, said in an interview on
ABC’s “20/20” that Laurie paid her about $20,000 over 3 1/2 years to write
term papers and do other assignments for her.

The Laurie family had previously said Paige Laurie’s college record is a
private matter.