My least favorite drawing
Long time readers of the blog know that I'm vehemently opposed to the construction of an indoor practice facility for football. I'm pleased to say that Damon Evans and Mark Richt appear to now be on the same page regarding the limited functional use of such a facility.
Instead, they are moving forward with plans to expand Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall in a move that will "give the the football team a bigger weight room, more space for the team to watch videos, a bigger training room and office space, Evans said. It also will mean a larger meeting room for special events. The large meeting room in Butts-Mehre is too small for some events, Evans told the paper."
According to the paper the final shift away from the practice facility came after touring other campuses and talking with their AD offices:
UGA officials have talked about building an indoor practice facility for years, but when UGA administrators toured other universities that have such indoor facilities, they found that the schools' football teams rarely used the expensive buildings (emphasis added). Instead, the biggest user seemed to be the schools' track teams, said UGA athletic director Damon Evans.My historical reasons for opposing the practice facility were pretty straight forward:
1. We don't play indoors. So what if it's raining. It rains in Sanford Stadium. It rains in Neyland Stadium and it rains in All-Tel Stadium. It's called Football. Get used to it.
2. We don't need it for recruiting. We already recruit at the Top 10 level, and the best recruiting university in the SEC over the past 15 years (Florida) doesn't have one either. It ain't holding Urban Meyer back.
When Meyer hears a recruit say such-and-such school has a facility, “I’ll make a comment like so-and-so needs an indoor facility; we don’t,” he said. “It’s not a priority.” (Source: DawgPost.com)3. Risk of getting soft. I worry that teams with IPF facilities use them even when it isn't a hurricane. "But coach, it's so hot. Let's practice inside."
4. Cost. What was being discussed wasn't a functional facility to avoid the rain. It was a $10-40 million football palace.
5. Existing Debt. We already have $100 million in long term debt.
6. The weather simply isn't that shitty here. There are maybe 5 days a year when we'd really need it. This appears to be the reason that broke the deal for Damon.
It'll be bigger in the back. Just like I like 'em.
The Good News:
The expansion of Butts-Mehre combined with other recent improvements will STILL give Richt the world class locker rooms, weight rooms, meeting rooms, and training facilities he needs to stay at the top of the facilities arms race. We're not spending more. We're spending smarter.
Besides -- The new dorms are our nuclear weapon in the recruiting arms race anyway.
It's a good move by Damon. He pays for the new facility in cash. Richt gets better stuff, and we (as contributors) don't get saddled with more debt. It's a win for everyone.
-- UGA to Expand Butts-Mehre Building - ABH
-- Damon happy. Wants More - AJC
-- Richt softens stance on IPF - DawgPost (May 2006)
-- Indoor Practice facilities are a Bad Idea - GSB (Dec. 2005)