There is no dispute, USF wants to capitalize on their recent on field success and parlay it into bigger/better facilities. But wants and reality, are different things.
Nevertheless, Bulls coach Charlie Strong made a impassioned plea to the USF Board of Trustees on Wednesday about the attempts to raise some $40 million for a new athletic complex for all sports, but specifically an immaculate indoor practice complex for football.
As the Tampa Bay Times transcribed his comments to the board, “It’s all about facilities. Any time we’re practicing for a critical game and a thunderstorm pops up, you have to get off that field,” Strong said Wednesday.
While the trustees agreed with his sentiments, they continue to emphasize that if the Bulls desire to practice in state of the art indoor facility, it will have to come mostly from donations.
And there is the “king sized” obstacle in the way.
While USF is touting that it has done well to this point by raising $7 million towards the construction, that’s not even 25% of the way home to making it a reality.
It’s kind of like counting your winning ticket at the track, as your horse exits the first turn (not that we know about this). No one pays out for a good start. Only victory.
And, that’s all the Bulls have, right now. A good start.
Athletic Director Mark Harlan, who’s been fighting these battles in his four years at USF, talked to the Times in Saturday’s edition about the fundraising efforts. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to raise the funds. We are able to look at this in two phases. We could build the indoor facility, which could be around $14-15 million with design included in that, and then get going on that as we’re continuing to fund-raise for the operations center.”
We have also heard through multiple sources that Strong privately is displeased with the lack of facilities, USF’s travel, lack of money in cofers for assistants, etc. In fact, he has verbalized that not just to Harlan and USF officials but other coaches around the country, etc.
The reality is real.
USF is in the American Conference. Their revenue from television and other sources is 20% of the “Power Five” conferences.
So, you are back now to private donation, and needing $20, if not $30 million more to make their facility a reality.
Will they be able to do that before Strong grows too impatient and takes off himself after this season for a school with more money and facilities already?
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