Georgia fans, you want to know why we can’t have nice things? Because, even after spending $100+ million to make Kirby Smart happier — not happy, mind you, just happier — there’s plenty more where that came from.
Prior to all this, Georgia’s biggest football-related facilities project was completed in Feb. 2011, a $33 million addition to the Butts-Mehre facility. That included an all-purpose room (since gutted to make room for the indoor facility), the coaches’ offices, and a 13,000-square foot weight room.
So, as athletics director Greg McGarity points out, that’s well over $120 million spent on mainly-football facilities this decade. McGarity said that should be a “show of strength.”
… Mississippi State’s weight room, which opened in 2013, is 16,000 square feet. South Carolina’s current weight room is 14,250 square feet, and as part of a bigger project (more on that later) will have a new weight room that is 22,000 square feet. Kentucky’s weight room is 14,000.
Among the only SEC programs with a smaller weight room than Georgia is Ole Miss, which reported its to be 10,000.
Outside the conference, Clemson’s new facility will include a 23,000-square foot workout area, including a second level and a nutrition bar…
… There’s another thing that strikes you when you’re at Alabama: The easy access that players have to their facility and academic center. It’s all a short walk — or drive.
The main dorm, where underclassmen usually reside, is a block-and-a-half away. So players can easily walk over and back. For those that want to drive — such as upperclassmen who live off campus — there is a spacious parking lot adjacent to the facility.
Georgia players, on the other hand, usually have to park their cars at a parking deck, a couple minutes’ walk from their facility. Media members and others who work at Butts-Mehre use the same parking deck. There is very limited parking right at Butts-Mehre, which is land-locked, with baseball’s Foley Field and the outdoor track on each side, and Stegeman Coliseum behind it, and an elementary school in front.
… But when it comes to football, Alabama has often set the standard, and many others are following, complete with snazzy extras.
Clemson has opened a $55 million facility that includes a mini golf course, a bowling alley and laser tag.
Oregon spent $138 million on its complex, with the help of Nike, and the kind of perks you’d expect.
It’s not just at the power-conference level: UCF is planning a $25 million facility that will include a lazy river. Athletics director Danny White said they’re going to fundraise for it too.
… Last September, Florida announced a $100 million facilities upgrade, creating the first standalone football facility in the program’s history. The Gators, who also lacked an indoor facility until a few years ago, finally got in the arms race and are pushing hard.
Florida’s plan is for the facility to be three stories and basically have everything: Weight room, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, team and position meeting rooms, a player’s lounge, and plenty more.
South Carolina began construction on a $50 million football operations facility in January. Head coach Will Muschamp said last year that before the project South Carolina was in the “bottom half of the SEC” in facilities. This will change that. It will include a new weight room, coaches’ offices, a recruiting center, locker room, meeting rooms, dining room and more.
This shit literally never ends.
“I have news for you: In a few years there’ll be something else. Either with respect to football or respect to many of our other outstanding programs,” Morehead said. “So the sooner and faster we can raise these funds, it puts us in a position to know that we are again in a situation where we can do something else moving forward. But I am absolutely committed to supporting our athletic director and our football coach as they go out and make the case for this project.”
Combining endless demands to keep up with the football Joneses of the South along with Georgia’s seeming inability to handle more than one major capital project at a time, what Emerson euphemizes as “a focused approach”, means there’s never going to be a time when McGarity can settle back and calmly plan and bid out a major project to update Sanford Stadium’s shortcomings. Er… fans’ shortcomings, that is.
It all gives a whole new meaning to winning is everything, doesn’t it?