News that $8 million in private donations won't buy as much Wildcat Coal Lodge as first thought broke the same day as news that Kentucky trails the nation and South in college-going and graduation rates.
Which got us thinking:
It's not too late for Coal Lodge donors to move their gift into something more meaningful, such as scholarships and other supports for young Kentuckians struggling to gain a college education.
Why not use the $8 million (and keep raising money) to endow a scholarship program? Call it the Coal Scholarship Program.
It would do a lot more good and buy the industry just as much, if not more, good will.
A new study by the Southern Regional Education Board highlights a conundrum for Kentucky. The state is doing a better job than the nation and the 16-state region in reducing dropouts and graduating potential college students from its high schools, which is great.
But a lower percentage of Kentucky's high school graduates (60 percent) enrolled in 2008 in college than the regional average (62 percent) or national average (63 percent).
Kentucky's college graduation rates are even worse: 48 percent for the state compared with 55 percent for the nation and 53 percent for the region.
These are not the statistics of an economically competitive state.
The men's basketball team already bunks down comfortably enough. Many Kentuckians would be thrilled to be as warm and safe at home as residents of the Joe B. Hall Wildcat Lodge.
UK recently reported that the $8 million in private donations raised by coal executive Joe Craft of Alliance Resources will buy 20,000 square feet, enough for 32 beds, not the 24,000 square feet and 36 beds originally planned.
We understand the allure of associating a controversial industry's name with a beloved sports team.
But thinking Kentuckians understand that the state's future does not depend on building better sports facilities but on building a better educated populace.