EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon's plan to build a
new basketball arena moved a giant step forward Monday when Nike
co-founder Phil Knight, and his wife, Penny, pledged $100 million
to the university, the largest philanthropic gift in school
The money is not targeted specifically for an arena, university
officials said. Rather, it will create the Oregon Athletics Legacy
Fund, which will help support all athletic programs.
But indirectly, officials said, the donation will boost the
university's effort to replace aging McArthur Court with a new
arena near the eastern edge of campus.
"This extraordinary gift will set Oregon athletics on a course
toward certain self sufficiency and create the flexibility and
financial capacity for the university to move forward with the new
athletic arena," Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny said. "Now we can
roll up our sleeves and get to work on making the arena a
The university last year estimated it would take more than $200
million to pay for the arena once land costs are figured in.
Fundraising for the project has been one of the top priorities for
Kilkenny since he got the job earlier this year.