Sunday, November 19, 2017
  • USF Sports Bulletin
  • Joey Knight

USF unveils plans for $40 million football complex on campus

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USF unveiled plans Thursday for a $40 million, 160,000-square-foot football-exclusive center that will include a 100-yard indoor turf practice field.

USF announced in a news release it will seek private and corporate support for the complex, to be adjacent to the Selmon Athletics Center on the east side of campus. No student fees or tuition dollars will be involved in the project, the release said.

The only apparent catch: the construction timeline is contingent on funding.

The announcement is a possible game-changer for USF, which has lagged behind the state's other prominent Division I-A programs in terms of on-campus amenities. Florida, FSU and UCF all have indoor practice facilities. Miami broke ground in May on a $34 million facility expected to be completed in time for the 2018 season.

The commitment to such an upgrade also could entice first-year coach Charlie Strong — whose name already is being tossed around for possible Power Five job openings — to remain in Tampa.

"There is so much potential in this university, this athletic department and this football program that we have just begun to tap," Strong said in the news release.

"The USF Football Center will be a profound and transformational step forward in providing a world-class student-athlete experience across all of our varsity sports programs," Bulls athletic director Mark Harlan said.

"Every student-athlete at USF will feel a positive impact with the addition of more than 160,000 square feet of state-of-the-art space dedicated to student-athlete excellence, the addition of which will enhance in many exciting ways our ability to recruit and prepare the best and brightest for the future."

Other components of the center: a strength-and-conditioning center of more than 12,000 square feet, a 10,000-square-foot locker room, a player lounge and "social patio," meeting rooms, coaches' offices and a sports medicine/rehab facility.

The current football space in the Selmon Center (approximately 30,000 square feet) will be used for other Bulls sports.

USF's announcement comes in the wake of similar projects completed — or ongoing — at American Athletic Conference rival schools.

Houston just put the finishing touches on a $20 million indoor facility. Memphis broke ground on one in April. A facility at SMU remains in the planning stages.

     
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