USF’s athletic facilities are seeing some major renovations. The new baseball, soccer and softball stadiums, in addition to new practice facilities for football and basketball, are generating excitement among students, athletes and Bulls fans.
However, of all the projects undertaken as part of the athletic renovations, one in particular stands out as the most impressive and cost efficient for what it could potentially provide: the Frank Morsani Football Practice Facility.
This new facility features three football fields, two are full-sized Bermuda grass fields and one is made of artificial turf, a feature of many stadiums the Bulls will be visiting in the future. In addition, the facility also has a separate 40-yard turf area for drills, a narrower goal post to increase kicking accuracy and a 2,500-square-foot storage building for equipment, according to gousfbulls.com. It’s also significantly closer to the team’s locker rooms than the old facility.
“This facility is amazing. I mean, just not having to walk like forever and a day down to the bottom field is great. … I can see us getting better as a program, you know, just with these facilities,” offensive guard Jeremiah Warren said to gousfbulls.com.
According to Ray Gonzales, assistant director for project management in the USF Facilities Planning and Construction office, the new football practice facility cost only $3,280,000 – about a third of the $10.2 million total construction cost of the new baseball and softball stadiums or the $9.5 million Muma Basketball Practice Facility.
The football team has already had relative success in the Big East conference and could potentially top the conference in the near future, which seems highly unlikely for the Bulls basketball team, which hasn’t seen a winning conference record since joining the Big East in 2005.
In addition, winning a Big East championship in football would bring more recognition to the University than a conference championship in baseball or soccer ever could, as it would send the Bulls to one of the four Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games, the envy of all teams not situated in a conference that has an automatic bid to a BCS game.
Participating in one of these four nationally televised games is the most prestigious honor a school’s football team could ever reach, beyond playing in the BCS national championship game.
Football is by far the most popular collegiate sport, and a school’s recognition nationally is often directly tied to its success on the gridiron.
The USF Athletic Department and University leaders should be applauded for understanding this and providing an excellent resource for not only the team’s development throughout the year and during the season, but also for recruiting, as prospects will now step onto a practice facility that easily competes with the most successful programs in the country.