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UTPB, Odessa Sports Association disagree over agreement on field use

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 9:16 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - The Odessa Sports Association is looking for new fields to play their games.

The organization said the University of Texas Permian Basin is making it impossible for them to continue playing on the school’s fields because of a new agreement.

However, the university doesn’t see it that way.

For the past few decades, leagues with the Odessa Sports Association have been using the fields at UTPB.

Now the organization said it won’t play there any longer now that a lease between the City of Odessa and UTPB is about to expire at the end of August.

The university said under the previous agreement, community sports leagues have been playing on the school’s property while the city paid to maintain the fields.

However, UTPB President Dr. Sandra Woodley said that deal is about to expire, and the city has refused to renew it under a new deal that would finance the fields’ maintenance through a combo of city funds and fees paid by teams.

Because that deal wasn’t accepted by the city, Woodley said any team can still use the fields, but they will have pay a fee to the university for maintenance and the school will be responsible for scheduling all the games.

“I think there’s a way for us to afford to do that without tapping into our university student funds again with private philanthropy and also really minimum fees for the organizations to pay in order to play on those fields,” Woodley said.

The Odessa Sports Association doesn’t agree with the decision.

At a protest held at the soccer fields, association members said the new agreement has terms that aren’t acceptable to them.

“UTPB wanted to basically take 15% of our profits,” Odessa Soccer Association President Tom Martinez said. “They wanted to be controlled basically the association with scheduling. They wanted us to run our registrations through their website, which our mother association wouldn’t allow. It’s those kinds of things we couldn’t live with.”

The protest is an effort to get the school to renew the former lease without any changes for another few years so they can resume playing while they work on building another field through the city that can become their permanent home.

If not, the association said some leagues will have to cancel their seasons.

Dr. Woodley said by the time the lease expires in September, the school will have a better idea of how much it’ll cost to use those fields.

She emphasized that the school is more than happy to welcome to the Odessa Sports Association back if they to choose to return, as well as any other community members who want to use the field.

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