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Chasing our tails in the arms race....does that even make sense?

We're trying to raise $100 million to get something built, some much needed facility enhancements. But we're already behind our fellow Big Ten brethren, and, at least for now, it's an uphill fight.

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The R B1G Build is a campaign to raise $100 million to construct and/or renovate three pieces of the very big puzzle that is Rutgers' athletic facility needs.  When the money is raised and utilized, Rutgers will have a new multisport complex for five sports, a new lacrosse/soccer/tennis building for  another five sports, and a greatly upgraded Hale Center for football.  Wow!  New stuff for almost half of the sports at Rutgers.  Very exciting.

Until you look around and see what everyone else is doing.  Before you anoint me Debbie Downer, my point is not to downplay the opportunities we have.  Rather, it's to point out how much more we need to do and how important it is that we all get behind this process.  So-o-o-o.....

Keep. Writing. Checks.

Fred Hill Training Facility

We do have one piece of construction going up now.  It isn't the biggest or maybe the most important, depending on your perspective, but it is a step forward.  The $3 million indoor training facility for baseball and softball is expected to be on line sometime later this year.  Here is a quick gallery of what's there now.

And outside of Piscataway.....

Here's a look at some of the athletic facility projects going on, or imminent, around the Big Ten.  The information is from the source noted.


Northwestern had notoriously and historically had some of the oldest and poorest facilities in the Big Ten. As the only private school in the conference, it did not suffer for lack of funds, having the eighth largest endowment in the country.  But it now also has a very dynamic and forward-thinking AD in Jim Phillips.  Get out the shovels.  Most of this is from the Northwestern website,  both here and here.

Construction on the lakefront facility will begin immediately. The facility will include a fieldhouse that will provide a large, indoor multipurpose facility for football practice as well as Olympic sports team practices and competitions, recreational activities and non-sporting events. It will be named Ryan Fieldhouse in honor of the generosity of alumni Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan. The playing surface within Ryan Fieldhouse will be named Wilson Field in honor of a $15 million gift from alumni Stephen R. and Susan K. Wilson.

The facility also will include the Walter Athletics Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will house academic support services for more than 500 student-athletes, a nutrition center and dining facility, a sports performance center, and office space for coaches and administrators. The building is being named in recognition of a $40 million gift from alumni Mark and Kimbra Walter.


Their goal is $170 million.  They already have $124 million in hand, yet only half will go towards capital improvements.  The rest is for scholarships.

The plan is to close in the endzone at the football stadium and build a new indoor arena for wrestling and volleyball.  In addition, Assembly Hall will undergo a renovation.  Some guy named Mark Cuban is involved, too.


Everybody should have a Phil Knight or a Kevin Planck.  If only.....

From the website:  The $155 million project will renovate and expand Cole Field House to include the Terrapin Performance Center, the Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance and the future home of the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The University of Maryland also announced a gift of $25 million from Under Armour founder and CEO and UMD alum Kevin Plank in support of the new Cole Field House.

I've only seen Cole Field House from the outside.  I have seen photos of the inside.  But this project is massive, and they have a camera feed (not live) that shows just how huge it is.  As a tease, take a look:

Michigan State

This one is for Dave.  And I am sorry, Dave.

Tom Izzo has his own "zone" in the Breslin Events Center.  But the rest of the place is getting a major - as in $50 million - renovation, primarily to enhance the fan experience.  Of interest to me, is that the money is coming from two sources that you might think are only one:  "$30 million will be provided by the university and $20 million from MSU Athletics".  Can everyone say cash cow?  And it includes "a 26,000-square-foot addition that will house the MSU Basketball Hall of History"


If you believe what its own people say, Purdue is awful with athletics.  Okay, they're horrible in the way they do things.  Boiler fans are amazed at how inept the athletic department is.  But even Purdue is pursuing new athletic construction.

There will be upgrades at Ross-Ade Stadium, spending $60 million to upgrade its out-of-date football facilities, including expanding Mollenkopf Athletic Center.  What impressed me the most, though, was some street names they listed when they noted street closures for the construction:

In order to construct the new Football Performance Complex, a three-level structure adjacent to the north end of Mollenkopf Athletic Center, John R. Wooden Drive will be closed from Tower Drive to Joe Tiller Drive through the end of July 2016

That's pretty cool.

Penn State

The Lions are building a $7.2 million support building.  $7.2 million....isn't that cute?  It will provide an academic services and support center for all of the University's athletes under one roof.

Among the numerous features in the new Morgan Academic Center will be: staff offices for the student-athlete development and welfare unit, academic counselors, learning specialists and a sports psychologist; 15 collaborative learning rooms; two conference rooms; classroom space; three large study rooms; two open reading rooms; computer lab; student lounge; fueling station and displays of student-athlete academic recognition through the years and benefactor recognition.

THE Ohio State University

Seriously, what could these people possibly need?  I'd take their hand-me-downs.

The Bucks have three items on the agenda for a quick $67.5 million.  And they really need it?

Just as Penn State was trying to bring athletes together (athletes' village, anyone?), OSU will be building a $20 million structure for Olympic sports.  From, "The other two new buildings to be part of that area include the $30 million Covelli Arena, announced in 2012, that will host events for several sports, including wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics"

In a plan very reminiscent of Julie Hermann's athletes' village, Ohio State is looking to bring most of its athletes into the same vicinity, certainly for practice and in many cases for competition.  And how do you pay for it?

Winning national titles in football, wrestling, pistol, synchronized swimming and rowing may help move the projects along.

"Most of these (donors) are not into bricks and mortar," Smith said. "We have to convince them that bricks and mortar are great investments for our kids."

"It's a big ask of donors," said Pete Hagen, Ohio State's associate athletics director for finance.

"This makes it a whole lot easier," Smith said of the on-field success led by the football team.

Show offs!


These guys know how to market and package ideas!

I decided to close this with what I thought was not only a very comprehensive plan but also the best presented.  I mean, I thought about donating!

The $168 million project funding will be provided entirely by athletic donor resources and gifts, including a $100 million gift from Stephen M. Ross.  And his name isn't even Knight or Planck.  You can read more about him and the project here.

What does it include?  What doesn't it?

  • New facilities for nearly two-thirds of U-M student athletes
  • Add approximately 280,000 square feet of space for men's and women's track and field, cross country, lacrosse and women's rowing.
  • A performance and team center will provide specialized spaces for each team, and shared resources for all teams.
  • First indoor rowing tank will be built as part of the project.
  • New indoor and outdoor track and field facilities will allow the university to host home track meets as well as regional and national competitions.
  • 2,000-seat lacrosse stadium

Oh, and they're also building a new 23,000 sf clubhouse for the golf course that doesn't even touch athletics.

Closing thoughts

There were other projects at other schools, but I couldn't cover everything without getting really depressed.  I did not want to share that with you.  The new Big Ten TV deal will hand out around $50 million per school when it kicks in in 2017.  Of course, that doesn't include Maryland or Rutgers.  That will have to wait until 2021.  So, until then, we muddle through, gathering dollars where we may.  But the road is long and arduous.  Good luck, Pat.

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