Bob Mercer explains what's really going on:
It’s a matter of political timing as much as anything, because none of those projects would have directly received a dime of taxpayers’ money. Student fees, grants and donations would have paid for them. Nonetheless, a nucleus of regents — Terry Baloun, Harvey Jewett and Randy Morris — decided now was not the time, with state government running on empty and the recession’s grip still showing in South Dakota’s unemployment rate — to be proposing big spending on big projects that aren’t clearly related to academics [emphasis mine; Bob Mercer, "Regents approve planning for athletic projects — nope!" Pure Pierre Politics, 2010.10.14].
State government on empty... recession... unemployment... now not the time for big spending not clearly related to academics... Boy! Why didn't the Madison Central School Board get this memo before proposing its multi-million-dollar new gym this week? Perhaps Regent Randy Schaefer will come home from the Regents meeting and remind his friends in the Madison Central School District of academics and fiscal restraint.