Nixon questions Chiefs training camp deal

Brennan Stebbins

News that Gov. Jay Nixon is unhappy with contract terms of a deal bringing the Kansas City Chiefs to St. Joseph for summer training camps has some worried the deal could be dead in the water.

The Chiefs had planned to move their training camp each summer to the campus of Missouri Western State University, which is about to break ground on a $13.5 million indoor practice facility. The Chiefs had planned to move their camp from River Falls, Wis., starting next summer.

As part of the deal, the Chiefs secured a $25 million tax credit from the Missouri Development Finance Board late last year, and pledged $10 million to the university to help fund the facility, which would be shared but owned by the school. The deal, it was originally thought, would keep the football team in St. Joseph for at least 10 years, but new legal documents show a five-year commitment from the Chiefs, followed by five, one-year options for the team. Media reports have stated that members of the MDFB, which agreed to the tax credit in December, were under the impression the Chiefs would be in St. Joseph for at least 10 years. Nixon reportedly wants the contract to show the original 10-year agreement.

WESTERN CONFIDENT

Missouri Western Athletics Director David Williams said he thinks the Chiefs will still be in St. Joseph next summer, and is confident an agreement can be reached soon.

“We believe that it’s a technicality that the Governor and Lt. Governor are discussing,” Williams said. “The Chiefs have always been in favor of staying in the state of Missouri for 10 years, it just hasn’t been documented as well as them or us would have liked, but I’m confident the whole issue will work out just fine.”

Williams said the wording of the contract calls for a five-year commitment and then one-year options so that Western must keep providing top-notch facilities. He added that a future contract will require the team to keep their camp within the state of Missouri if they left Western after the initial five-year period.

“My understanding is the Chiefs have always intended that five additional years would be in the state of Missouri, if, for some reason we are not able to put out good enough facilities,” Williams said.

He said Western officials have been in contact with the Chiefs organization on a daily basis, and the organization has reaffirmed its support for the plan.

“They are just trying to understand where the Gov. is coming from and abide by his wishes,” he said.

Construction on the facility is scheduled to start in June, and Williams said this hiccup shouldn’t delay that.

“Our architect is scheduled to be 75 percent done with the plans by next Wednesday and 100 percent done by May 1 so we are on schedule to break ground in the month of June,” Williams said.