When the University of Oregon unveiled its stunning new football training facility, the first question many people asked was, “Sweet sassy molassey, how much did that thing cost?” The answer: A lot. A whole lot. But surprisingly, it’s less than half of what another Pac-12 school plans to spend on its even-more-insane sports complex. Over-the-top training facilities are on the rise at campuses nationwide, and as each school attempts to outdo the others, the price tags attached to these training centers continues to skyrocket. Some of the facilities are for athletes only, others are open to all students, so it’s not all apples to apples. But as you’ll see below, no matter where you go, your school is probably spending a whole lot of paper on athletic training.
University of Colorado’s Proposed Athletic Facility Upgrades – $143 Million
On May 12, the University of Colorado broke ground on a massive expansion of its athletic training facilities, including a 120,000-square-foot practice facility housing an indoor football field and a 300-meter track. It also features a refurbished aquatics center with new locker rooms, an Olympic sports strength training room and a football locker room that’s two and a half times the size of the one the Buffaloes currently inhabit.
University of Cincinnati’s Richard E. Lindner Varsity Village – $105 Million
Cincinnati’s Varsity Village houses all of the Bearcats athletic amenities, including the football, basketball and baseball stadiums, as well as a center for the marching band. The main attraction, though, is the Lindner Center, which aside from looking like a spaceship that took a wrong turn, contains locker rooms, offices, hydrotherapy pools and meeting spaces for each of Cincy’s sports teams. Coincidentally, the cost of the village equals what the Cincinnati Reds spent to re-sign pitcher Homer Bailey, who’s been supremely mediocre this season. A sports complex seems like a much better investment.
USC’s John McKay Center – $70 Million
USC dedicates this 110,000-square-foot athletic training facility mostly to football (it features an entire locker room for the football team and an underground practice field), but it also contains a tutoring area for student-athletes. There’s a digital media production center and a two-story video board capable of displaying six big-screen TV’s worth of content at once.
University of Oregon’s Hatfield-Dowlin Complex – $69 Million
A gift from Nike chairman Phil Knight and his wife, Oregon’s insane, 145,000-square-foot Hatfield-Dowlin Complex is dedicated solely to the football team and features anything you could ever want as a football player. Weight room? Yup. Sauna? It’s there. 170-seat movie theater? Sure. Barber shop? Why not? All for about the same amount of money an NHL team is allowed to spend on its entire roster.
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University of Iowa’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center – $69 Million
Swimmers and divers have it good at the University of Iowa. The school’s Campus Recreation and Wellness Center contains three levels of fitness space, a 52-foot climbing wall, a 50-meter competition pool, an 18-foot diving well and its own café. If the swimmers and divers get tired of training, they can kick it in the leisure pool, which has its own lazy river. The Wellness Center is open to all students, because letting only 20 people access a lazy river wouldn’t be fair.
The Ohio State University’s Woody Hayes Athletic Center – $66.5 Million
The Woody Hayes Athletic Center is currently undergoing a $45 million renovation, which goes on top of its $21.5 million initial cost. Ohio State’s football facility will soon feature brand new FieldTurf on its indoor practice field, new locker rooms for players (with docking stations for their Androids, iPads and whatever newfangled device the kids are using these days), and a video and replay system for coaches and players to watch film. But Buckeye football players don’t have all that opulence to themselves; athletes of other sports can use the indoor practice field.
Ithaca College’s Athletics and Events Center – $65.5 Million
For roughly the price of a single Gulfstream G650 jet, the Athletics and Events Center at Ithaca College in upstate New York opened in 2011 for all students. Highlights include a 130,000-square-foot field house, an aquatics pavilion with an Olympic-sized swimming pool (where students can take classes like aquatic Zumba [you know you want to]) and a multisport outdoor stadium with a field that lights up in case you can’t sleep at 3 a.m. and feel like getting into some Ultimate Frisbee.
UCLA’s Football Performance Center – $50 Million
With construction to begin in the near future, UCLA will spend the same amount Comedy Central once gave Dave Chappelle for the third season of The Chappelle Show on a football performance center that will boast a football-specific strength and conditioning center, a lounge for potential recruits and upgraded coaches’ offices. The Bruins have tapped architectural firm ZGF, which also designed Oregon’s Hatfield-Dowlin Center, to build this football palace, so you know it’s going to look like something from the year 2140.
University of Tennessee’s Anderson Training Center – $45 Million
A gigantic weight room (22,000 square feet to be exact), a locker room full of HD televisions and a dining hall mean UT players never have to leave the facility.
University of Arkansas’s Fred W. Smith Football Center – $40 Million
Arkansas’ new football center, which opened in 2013, is a cathedral for Razorbacks football, with hallways honoring the program’s past greats. But the coolest feature? Five rows of black metal lockers, accessed through an electronic security pad, where each player retrieves his fresh gear from the equipment room on the other side. Far out.
University of Kansas’s Anderson Family Football Complex – $33 Million
Built in 2008 for the cost of Allen Iverson’s rainy day fund from Reebok, KU’s 80,000-square-foot football facility spans two levels, with the lower (underground) level containing a training room, weight room and a nutrition area for players who need to stock up on supplements or recovery shakes. The upper level is occupied by coaches and athletic administrators.
University of Kentucky’s Joe Craft Center – $30 Million
Basketball is king in Kentucky, and the Joe Craft Center on UK’s campus proves it. The facility has separate practice courts for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, and the weight room features a handful of plasma TV’s that feature each individual player’s workout. $30 million for about 20 players, most of which will be jetting out of Kentucky after one year? How do I get a scholarship?
University of Pittsburgh’s UPMC Sports Performance Center – $30 Million
Injured as a student-athlete at Pitt? Don’t sweat it. The UPMC Sports Performance Center has a 100,000-square-foot rehabilitation center chock full of physicians and orthopedic surgeons ready to fix you up. Radiology tests and a motion analysis lab are also available to assess your injuries. Superhuman clones are rumored to be in development in the basement (kidding.)
University of Michigan’s Al Glick Field House – $26.1 million
An 85-foot glass ceiling in the field house allows punters to get their kicks without fear of shattering anything. An outdoor field and upgraded locker room and weight room round out the rest of Michigan’s new football practice facility. The south wall is made entirely of anti-glare glass, so you can get some sun without potentially going blind for the rest of your life.
Florida State University’s Coyle E. Moore Athletic Center – $25 Million
Renovated in 2003, Florida State’s athletic training temple is open to all student-athletes and includes a 15,000-square-foot rehab facility, five times larger than any of the school’s previous training rooms. The space also has a theater for press conferences and team meetings and a studio for students enrolled in the Communications School to produce content for the athletic program. If anyone on the football team wants to watch himself score a touchdown set to a Phil Collins song, he is in luck.
Duke University’s Yoh Football Center – $22 Million
Duke may be known more for its basketball team and fans who attempt to put a hex on opponents shooting 3-pointers, but the football team’s facilities aren’t too shabby. The Yoh Football Center contains a speed and agility room, a sports medicine room and an entire floor dedicated to displaying Duke sports memorabilia. We can only hope that is where J.J. Redick’s poetry is proudly displayed.
Notre Dame’s Guglielmino Athletic Complex – $21.25 Million
It’s got a cool nickname (the kids call it “The Gug”) and its open to all student-athletes on Notre Dame’s campus. Highlights of the 96,000-square-foot facility include an exercise pool with a treadmill at the bottom, a football locker room equipped with shoe driers for those cold Indiana winters, and a players’ lounge with a full kitchen and a 52-inch plasma TV.
Did we miss one? Does your school boast an even pricier facility? Let us know by tweeting at us @STACKMedia using the hashtag #CostlyCATFs