Pronouncing the New Name of UH’s New Stadium; Houston’s Appraisal Problem

Southwest Fwy., taken from Greenway Plaza

Photo of Southwest Fwy. from Greenway Plaza: Chris Barnes


23 Comment

  • I like to think I’m a pretty smart guy when it comes to tech and the internet, but what I don’t understand is the Chron paywall.
    Why is it the link from this site goes to a version of the story that’s blocked by paywall, but a simple google search of the headline brings you a link (1st one) that goes to the story without the paywall?
    In fact, I tried to open the swamplot link into a new window so I could compare the URL from my ‘free’ version to the pay but it seems once I’ve opened the free version, following the link from swamplot all of a sudden takes me to the free version as well.
    Can someone smarter than me explain?

  • I LOVE that TDECU gave so much $$$ to UH, but really, that name is unpronounceable, Try Ted Q? The Dow? Or just continue to call it the Rob?

  • Cody, I could kiss you. I had no idea you could even google the headline and read the story for free. I’ve always bypassed the paid articles knowing I couldn’t get to the content. A+ for magical backdoors.

  • I thought the main difference between a bank and a credit union, is that the former is “for profit” and the latter is “non-profit,” resulting in significantly different regulations, tax structures, and membership rules that are lopsided in favor of credit unions.

    So…what business does a credit union have in buying the naming rights to a stadium? Seems wasteful of organization funds and clashing with the stated mission, as well as a blatant flaunt in the face of for-profit banks.

  • Well, once you open the free version you have that version saved in your cache, so its not actually reloading the page, merely re-showing it to you.

    The simple answer is that its less of a paywall and more of a pay obstacle. They get ad traffic from allowing their results in google and since “old news” content has limited value they can at least get some ad impressions. You would be surprised at how many people don’t know the “google the title to get free access” thing and pay for access. It is also just annoying enough that it drives people who read a lot of chron articles to actually pay for a subscription. The NY Times was like that for a long time, and specific Wall Street Journal articles as well.

  • Amen, Cody, I noticed the same thing.

    Dow didn’t “give” UH anything, they get a great deal in return. I’m no fan of these naming rights for college stadiums, I means what’s next: Dell Royal Memorial, Blue Bell Kyle Field?– and both are better than this laughable name of Robertson. I wasn’t a fan of paying college athletes and still really am not, but it’s obscene the amount of money these schools make and all most of the student athletes get, if they’re lucky, is a free education and a wrecked physique. My UT is the worst about this, but we least Royal Memorial is still called Royal Memorial.

  • I’m with Superdave. What gives?

  • Superdave, it’s true that the credit union regulations are suspiciously loose.

    In the case of Texas Dow Employees’ Credit Union, the only requirements for membership are that you be over 18 years of age and live in one of several hundred zip codes in southeast Texas. And if you don’t fit those criteria, then you can call a special hotline to figure out other eligibility tests.

    If a 15-year stadium naming agreement is any indication, credit unions don’t appear to be very concerned about regulators clamping down on them anytime soon. It’s a bit of a shame. (Go Coogs.)

  • This massive rush to pump up the UH football team is more than a little premature and in my opinion a bad idea.

    First there’s the point that UH still is not “there” academically, yet. I know it likes to tout its “Tier one” status, but (ignoring that fact that said status doesn’t actually mean that much) UH is still not really that competitive. Its gotten a lot better, but it has a long way to go and I think it’s been drinking too much of its own kool-aid. Big football programs should only ever be attached to good schools, like UT/A&M/Michigan. What you don’t want is to end up like an LSU (ranked top 20 in NCAA and like 150 academically) or Alabama (top 10 NCAA and ranked ~100 academically) or some of those other state schools with huge football programs but lackluster academics. Invest in your academics FIRST, good sports are secondary. Houston needs a good public university FAR more than it needs a good football team. We’ve gotten used to the Texans after all. Also I’m tired of seeing so many Aggies in our recruiting pools….I would love for UH to get good enough for us to recruit from them.

    Second, UH is still a commuter campus, which means people don’t usually care about sports as much regardless of how good the school is academically (see University of Chicago). The third ward needs to get into better shape for this to happen (because really there is no excuse for UH being a commuter school). UH itself doesn’t really have much influence on this beyond supporting things like private dorms.

    Third, and perhaps most importantly, is that this is Houston. This town is not about arts, even though we have a great museum district. It’s not about music, even though we get most major tours. It’s not even about sports. Houston is about making money. That’s what we are. That’s what we do. I mean look at the Astros! One of the worst teams out there. But incredibly profitable. And for our university to put sports in front of academics is simply not following that culture. It’s what made us great and it will be what makes UH great.

  • Addition: I do appreciate that the article in question was about UH actually recouping some of the costs of the new stadium, which is good, but the point still stands overall. They need better professors far more than they needed a new stadium.

  • Regarding the appraised values. This one agent has it right on:
    “When she’s concerned, she’ll provide the appraiser additional information to help justify the purchase price before the value is determined That includes recent sales, active listings and even any competing offers made on the property.”
    Any GOOD agent should be doing the appraisers job. When I’m looking to buy or sell a property, I always make sure to put together an appraiser package and give it to the appraiser. He may not know the submarket I’m buying in, or why I’m paying/selling at that price. So I want to make sure I’m doing his job for him so he comes to the ‘right’ answer.
    Though IMO, with few exceptions, the price that a buyer and seller agree on *IS* the value (unless there is some type of fraud). So while the appraiser has to look out for the banks interest (in case the buyer is a moron), the contract sales price should — at minimum — play a large role in the sales price.

  • Superdave,

    Years ago the differences between banks and credit unions were obliterated. With that said, CU’s typically offer better service, rates, and little to no fees for the typical depositor (i.e. Non-millionaires). They also have low overhead due to having few locations.

  • I tried the Google trick for the Galveston Daily news articles – which pop up here from time-to-time – and it won’t work.

  • I’m going to pronounce it “Tah- deckyou!” It’s like “Tah dah!” but with a confusing and slightly disappointing finale, sort of like “How I Met Your Mother.”

  • Cody, as demonstrated by coconutbutter’s remark, a surprisingly large amount of people don’t know about the Google hack. Also, I believe there’s a limitation on how many articles per day you may access via that route. Nevertheless, browsing in incognito/private mode via one’s browser tends to work since it prevents the website from using cookies to detect how many articles you’ve read. This article ( talks about how links via social media don’t count to your limit. I haven’t tried that.
    Lastly, to answer Limestone’s question, it’s all up to the publisher on whether they allow Google to provide free cached versions or not.

  • Cody, the technical mechanism that lets the Chron selectively raise and lower the paywall is the HTTP referer. Your browser tells the Chron web site that you clicked on a link on Swamplot, and up goes the paywall.

    The political reason that the paywall is lowered for folks coming to the site from Google is because that Google requires you to show the exact same page to Google users that you showed to Google itself. You can’t show Google’s indexer a full copy of the article, and then show everyone else a truncated version.

  • Mr.Ection.
    Your problem is not with UH, it’s with the NCAA.
    The NCAA should be about education first and sports second. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really care about either very much and is all about money and power.
    The NCAA should be abolished as it is and replaced with another Collegiate program that states that for every dollar of income made from sports that 60% must be put towards academic programs not associated with sports. That would put things on the right track, yes, they’d still be after money, and they’d still be after TV ratings, and whatever because that’s what pays the bills, but the bulk of it would have to go into scholastic achievement, and that is first and foremost what college should be about.

  • I can’t really fault the NCAA for having a focus on sports. It’s a sports organization after all. Of course it puts sports first. I do like the idea of forcing collegiate profits back into the school though. Outside of the handful of teams at the very top almost no college football teams are profitable. Even the ones that ARE profitable rely heavily on donations to stay in the black, many of which might have gone to a better home in the academic side (although in fairness a lot of it might not have either).

    This is no different really from professional sports either, where taxpayers basically give money to pro-sports teams whose owners then pocket vast profits. I read a REALLY disturbing article about this practice recently. It focused on the Vikings bailout I think? Can’t remember. But our very own Astrodome blight should be evidence enough of the problem.

    Anyways, like I said I don’t fault the NCAA for putting sports first, it’s the university’s responsibility to look after it’s academic side and push back. Tuitions are getting too high, and increasing costs just to buy a new stadium (which UH did…3 years ago I think?) is a bad idea. Ironically the professors I’ve heard touting the football program the loudest have been the least competent academically. There’s one in particular in the IE department that has no business teaching at the college level, or even the highschool level frankly, but boy does he love his cougars. Those (the bad professors) are the ones that UH needs to be putting its resources towards replacing instead of building a new stadium.

  • For specific numbers to back up my claim check the following link
    Houston ranks around number 75, with about 38 million in revenue against 31 million in expenses. Sounds like a highly profitable venture right? Except that in the “revenue” category there is a column marked “University”, which in the case of UH is a whopping 13 MILLION dollars. Meaning that UH subsidizes the team to make it look better on paper.
    THIS is how backwards the thinking on this is.
    Accountant: “Our football team is losing the University 5 million dollars a year”
    Administrator 1: “Well if the University gives them 13 million we can say that we MADE 8 million dollars.”
    Administrator 2: “BRILLIANT!”
    Then they drink a Guiness or something. Can you imagine what a University like UH could DO with an additional 5 million dollars a year? That could upgrade nearly 20 professors to world class status, which would have astounding academic implications.

  • Regarding the UH stadium, it’s just a fact of life that it’s much easier to raise funds for a stadium than to endow professors or improve academic programs. It is usually claimed that high-profile sports serves to attract donations to the schools, but many studies have not supported the idea (studies done by academics, surprise surprise). Only a about dozen football programs in the US make money, and that surplus is needed to support Title IX obligations and probably doesn’t go back to the academic programs anyway.
    It is a continuing canard that UH is a uniquely commuter-based school. It is no more so than any other urban university, and in Texas, only A&M has more campus residents (I mean, where else do you live in a ghastly place place like College Station). Numerous residential projects have just finished on-campus, and private developers are making plans for projects located a few meters off campus. But old notions die hard.

  • It’s not a canard (although I really like that word.) There’s a decent amount of on-campus housing (holding what, like 20% of the student body?) but the “commuter” tag isn’t really about that, it’s about the surrounding area. UT for instance has no more real on-campus housing, but there is an incredible amount of housing within the immediate 3 miles around the campus. This creates a “community” feeling that is simply lost at UH. And this isn’t really that rare that I’ve seen. Oregon, Michigan, and a few others I’ve visited have this feel of there being a part of town devoted to the school. This just doesn’t exist for UH. I mean, there isn’t even a UH bar (ok there’s that on campus one but you know what I mean).
    I don’t know why there is all this pushback against calling UH a commuter school. There are tons of really good, world-class, commuter schools out there. They just tend to ride on their academic laurels more than their sports since they have a different concept of school spirit.

  • Name one “World Class” commuter university –exactly —that’s why UH really fights that tag, that and the whole Couger High, which folds in nicely to the commuter school deal.

  • Shannon, why do you find the Robertson name laughable? Do you know who Robertson was? What he/she did for UH?