Austin Peay athletic director says sinkhole blown out of proportion

Austin Peay State University's athletic director said the sinkhole opened up over time and didn't cause any injuries.

By Danielle Haynes

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn., May 21 (UPI) -- A 75-foot-wide, 40-foot-deep sinkhole at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., wasn't the sudden, surprising event some media outlets are portraying it to be, the school's athletic director said.

The sinkhole opened up near the north end zone of Governors Stadium at the school more than a month ago, and was initially small, about 5 feet across and 4 feet deep.


As diggers tried to find the bottom of the sinkhole, it opened up further to a total of 40 feet deep.

"(It's) not something you want to get national attention for," Athletic Director Derek van der Merwe said. "How this has been portrayed is that this is a hole that has just all of a sudden appeared, and that's not the case."

Van der Merwe said no one was ever in danger of injury from the sinkhole because it appeared slowly over time.

To prove his point that the sinkhole was of little concern to the safety of those at the school, he took to Twitter to joke about the situation.


The school's football stadium was already undergoing a renovation. School officials said the sinkhole shouldn't delay the $16.9 million project.

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