Students still divided on development of on-campus stadium
For students, the building of a $400 million on-campus football stadium is either a needed step to further grow a sense of campus community, or it is a costly expenditure that would be best suited toward other areas on campus.
Sophomore business management major George Keith said the on-campus stadium would have plenty of benefits for the USF community.
“I don’t think it will magically make the football team better, but it will certainly improve the quality of game days from the fans’ perspective, and it will definitely breathe some college life into a largely commuter campus,” Keith said.
Since their inaugural season in 1997, the Bulls have called Raymond James Stadium home. They are one of three schools to share venues with an NFL team, along with Temple and Miami.
However, its distant location and less than favorable attendance have been issues that have plagued USF for years.
“All in all, a football team’s success ultimately comes down to the coaching staff. The stadium won’t make us relevant, nor will it make us win many more games. It will provide for a better game day atmosphere, bigger turnout, and ultimately more school pride,” Keith said.
Some division stems from the timing of the stadium being built. The Bulls have notoriously struggled on the field, with a subpar 3-29 record over the last three seasons.
Senior biomedical science major Brendan Teaman said he was skeptical over a new stadium being built after the Bulls’ most recent season was their worst in program history
“They should focus on building a winning team before building a stadium,” Teaman said.
Students also expressed concerns over parking, as it is unclear if the building will come with additional spaces. The difficulty to find available parking spaces has been a widely discussed issue amongst the campus community.
In a survey of 166 USF students, 42% said that on-campus parking makes it difficult to attend classes and events
Junior computer science major Dayne Guy said the addition of a new stadium will bring more unwanted parking issues.
“Parking is also a consideration too. It is already rough on campus and I fail to see how people will be able to park on campus for the games,” Guy said.
Given that the development of a new stadium will cost roughly $400 million, some students share concerns on the heavy financial impact the stadium will have.
Senior mechanical engineering major Keiran Lee said the money would be better suited going to individual colleges and programs.
“They are paying for the stadium before being able to fund the successful colleges, such as the College of Arts or the College of Education,” Lee said.
In 2020, the College of Education was nearly eliminated in an effort to reduce the school’s budget by $6.8 million. However, it was ultimately decided that the program would be retained.
As USF moves closer to beginning construction, the 35,000-seat stadium is expected to open by the 2026 season.