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Corn Flakes: Universities Building Better Facilities or Palaces?

Yesterday, Purdue announced a $60M project to build a bigger, better football complex. How many other universities have spent millions on facilities recently?

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Just when you thought they didn't care, Purdue comes along with an announcement that they're going to spend (pending trustee approval) $60M on a "football performance complex":

Purdue President Mitch Daniels and vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics Morgan Burke announced today that they will seek approval at the December meeting of the Board of Trustees to construct a $60 million football performance complex.

When it comes to "Why" Purdue is proposing the construction of a new football complex, note the following photograph of a document which appears to be a proposal comparing Purdue's facilities with other schools (and Notre Dame) in the Big Ten. Also note which schools have all the green dots.

Yay, Nebraska. We have resources! (Really, we do have resources, because nothing on that Purdue list compares to Nebraska's Athletic Performance Lab, which is unique across the nation and why it is included in the concussion study being done in conjunction with the Big Ten and the Ivy League.)

Travis Miller, who runs SBNation's Purdue site, asked for references from other college sites about what facilities they've recently constructed. CN did not provide a response about Nebraska, but in a short period Miller collected feedback from 15 other sites about what new facilities their universities were building.

There are a couple of perspectives you can take on this:

  • You can be impressed at the lengths at which schools will go to attract recruits
  • And/or you can be amazed at how many athletic programs are building palaces for themselves in the name of attracting recruits.

Universities are throwing millions at coaches and administrators, and more millions at state of the art facilities for athletics.*

It is no wonder that the NCAA is fighting so hard to keep the "amateur" tag on their student athletes. Look at all that might come crashing down should it be wiped away!

I've noticed over the past few years that the Purdue guys would complain that their administration didn't care about being successful by pointing out how little money they'd spent on football. Now that their administration has changed course, I can't help but feel disappointed (one more school joining the arms race) and wondering how else they could be spending that money.

Because of Purdue's relationship with NASA, I thought, "maybe they could use it to send someone to Mars", but I looked and it turns out that going to Mars is way more expensive than $60M. Still... add all the expenses up from all those universities and... going to Mars is way more expensive, unless you're looking at Mars One - hasn't it been established that those people are loonies?

Also, take note of an entry on that document above entitled "WOW Entry". Studies have been done that show that if you build a new facility, you need to make the entrance to it something that makes its constituents say "WOW". I know of this from working with K-12 schools all over the nation. Turns out if you vote for a referendum, build a new school or new practice field and you don't spend money on a fancy entrance, people get the attitude of "we spent all that money for this piece of crap?".

*Universities are also building expensive dorms and recreation centers to attract more students, so it's not just about student athletes. Then young people wonder why they're graduating with so much college debt; you have to wonder how soon they'll figure out they've paid way too much for that expensive resort they attended in the name of a substandard education.


Purdue makes $60 million commitment to football
Pending board approval, Purdue will spend $60 million to expand and improve the Mollenkopf Athletic Center

Rutgers Football midseason report card - On the Banks
Now that it is halfway through the season, it is time to grade the Rutgers football team on both sides of the ball.

Film Focus: Michigan's Defense vs. Michigan State - Maize n Brew
Who won the colossal matchup between Jourdan Lewis and Aaron Burbridge? Our film review has the answer, and it's not as close as you might think.

Does Kyle Flood have one more dramatic Rutgers comeback left in him? My column: - Land-Grant Holy Land
Kyle Flood's coaching tenure at Rutgers was left for dead a few weeks ago, but did he just lay the blueprint for surviving a tumultuous year?

Michigan Football Mid-Season Grades: Offense Still Struggling, But Has Been Good Enough - Maize n Brew
The offense was just supposed to do enough this season. That's been the case so far, but there have been missed opportunities.

The case for Bob Stitt as Maryland's next head football coach - Testudo Times
Would Maryland have any interest in the innovative Stitt?

Corey Clement's status to be resolved 'when I wake up Saturday' -
Wisconsin running back Corey Clement is yet to return from the sports hernia surgery he had in late September. Clement was expected to miss four to six weeks, but was actually cleared to return last week in Wisconsin's game against Purdue.

Penn State Football and Catching the Country's Best - Black Shoe Diaries
Saturday's 38-10 loss in Columbus was a sobering reminder of the gap between the nation's best and the Nittany Lions

Let's take a look back in the history books at some past 7-0 starts for Iowa.

Watkins: Covering college football no cakewalk

Here is why that is a big deal: When somebody made or missed a game-winning field goal, reporters would crowd around the kicker’s locker. I would go find the holder and snapper, neither of whom is usually brought to the media nowadays. They always had a perspective or a nugget that the kicker, in his jubilation or dejection, would fail to share. Then I would go grab the kicker after the other reporters scattered.

Another journalist complaining about access to athletes.


2015-16 Big Ten Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers Wings - BT Powerhouse
We know about Shavon Shields, but who else will step up for the Cornhuskers at the wing position?

Nebraska Basketball Live Set for Oct. 29 - - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site
Fans will have their first chance to meet the 2015-16 Nebraska men's and women's basketball teams on Thursday, Oct. 29, during Nebraska Basketball Live.

Former Husker Jay Foreman breaks down Nebraska football
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Tale of the Tape: Minnesota, Part 1
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Three Things to know about the Nebraska Cornhuskers - Inside NU
After a disappointing start, Nebraska is looking to turn things around in October.

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Explaining Northwestern's woes: An Inside NU staff discussion - Inside NU
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NU Welcomes 220 Huskers to Weekend of Champions - - Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site

Nebraska will celebrate anniversaries for six championship teams when the Huskers host Northwestern in a national ESPN2 football telecast Saturday at 11 a.m. The honored teams include the 20th anniversary of national championship seasons for Nebraska football and Husker volleyball and a 10-year anniversary of a national championship in bowling.

Holy COW!!!!

Then There's This:

Fans engage in wild, chair throwing brawl before Champions League game -
WWE fan brawling, soccer style

If you've ever seen Purdue's media guides, you know exactly what Brian is talking about.