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April 24, 2007

Damon's Sensible Approach to an Indoor Practice Facility

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:
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.

See Also:
-- 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)



Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis PWD.

Anonymous said...

Didn't we add on some kind of mini-indoor facility behind the Colliseum a few years back?

Anonymous said...

Anon, the mini-indoor facility you're thinking of was called the "Olympic Gym". It was a warm-up gym constructed as a condition of hosting the 1996 Olympics. It wasn't very useful for football and not especially useful for anything else other than gymnastics.

It was demolished in 2005 to make way for the new basketball/gymnastics facility.

To pwd's point, according to Kelly Quinlan of, the football team was forced indoors exactly three times last fall.

Anonymous said...

I second what ruteger said. Damon Evans sure is a badass.

Anonymous said...

Very impressive work by DE. He keeps MR happy, keeps the football program strong in the facilities arms race and avoids spending money on the one facility that probably is counterproductive.

anonymous said...

Goodness, Westerdawg, I had no idea you were an ass man.

But I'm with you on the merits of an indoor facility (or lack of same). There are way more important things we could be spending our money on.

I'm actually with you on the ass thing too, now that I think about it.

Unknown said...

I'm not. I just thought it was funny.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more Westerdawg. Given the athletic department's other needs (such as a real basketball facility), adding wrestling, etc., an indoor practice facility should not be any sort of priority. I don't care how many other SEC schools have one.

Anonymous said...

hooray for Butt-Smear!

Unknown said...

Anon - Excuse me...but adding wrestling?

Can't we just get Bill Goldberg to fund that program?

Anonymous said...

bunda. I like the bunda.

Anonymous said...

ECV Dorms are our secret weapon - there is a reason for the term, east campus ass - refering to the horrible smell that originates behind the dorms from the days we use to throw waste underground in the 50's and 60's/

Unknown said...

If anyone is wondering...CLTDawg is actually the Gov. of California..

Anonymous said...

Why would ANYONE in their right mind oppose an indoor practice facility?? And doesn't DE run the most profitable Athletic Dept in the nation? Seems like money shouldn't be that much of a problem right now...

Anonymous said...

Shit. Forgot about the new expandable format.

But FWIW why are we in so much debt? For that stupid hoops addition that will never help Landers win anything meaningful or Felton outrecruit crybaby Hewitt?

Unknown said...

The debt is all long term debt. It's not like we're borrowing money to keep the lights on at the stadium.

The 3rd deck/sky box project at Sanford was $33 million (2004). Expanding the sky boxes in 2000 cost $12 million and we've spent probably $10-15 million (guessing) on Olympic and Women's sports to comply with Title IX.

The hoops practice facility costs $30 million. So there's your $100 million right there.


Unknown said...

Oh...and the Gate 6 project for Sanford Stadium cost $16 million.

That projected was needed to bring in more concessions, widen concourses and make the stadium more compliant from a fire code standpoint (as I under stand it).

Cool. Stuff. Costs. Money.


Anonymous said...

shit. after looking at yalls facilities, lsu is way ahead and is continuing to upgrade constantly. our football operations facility os SECOND TO college football, and some pro organizations. so you're saying having a better facility doesn't help in recruiting? bullshit. spending the money for top of the line facilities pays off on the field and in recruiting. yall are so far behing you dont even know it... check this site out...

Anonymous said...

Butt Smear - that's a great name for the dawgs. That should help the recruiting for the other SEC teams.

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