Give Tom Herman credit — if you’re gonna blow ridiculous money on football lockers, don’t be coy about it.
Pictures of the new Longhorn football lockers went viral Friday not long after they hit social media. Many on Twitter lamented that despite the high-end perk, college athletes still don’t get paid. Or that last year Texas lost to lowly Kansas for the first time in 78 years. Or that this was a new high – or low – to the college football arms race. Such snark didn’t matter to Herman. He got exactly the response he was hoping for.
“The only reaction I care about to be honest is our players and our recruits,” Herman told FOX Sports on Tuesday. “I don’t care about Twitter’s reaction or whatever social media’s reaction is. Our players and the recruits absolutely loved it. The recruits, especially those that have been a lot of places around the country, have said, ‘Coach, there’s nothing even close to it around the country.’
“So, mission accomplished on that one.”
You’re the richest athletic program in America. People already think you’re arrogant, so what do you have to lose by acting that way?
Texas’ facilities, which were among the best in college football back when Herman was a graduate assistant, had been surpassed in the past decade as TV money flooded into Power 5 programs. Barbershop rooms in the football facility along with virtual reality rooms, waterfalls and jumbotrons for the indoor complex aren’t uncommon anymore.
“Texas is one of the most prestigious schools, and we’re kinda out of date right now,” said safety P.J. Locke, a one-time Oregon commit. “This facility was one of the greatest back then but then everyone upgraded and we stayed here. Herman is this new-school guy and he has to get facilities back on top.”
Senior defensive tackle Poona Ford was wowed by the new locker and is convinced it matters in recruiting today. “At my high school, every male sports team shared a locker room in that one field house, and if I see that coming out of high school, I’m thinking, ‘Dang, that’s pretty sweet.’ That could be the reason why they commit here,” Ford said.
But could that really be a reason why one player would pick Texas over A&M or OU?
“Yeah,” Ford said. “Everything matters.”
Hell, it might even work.