Coaches seem to have different aspirations for recruits than the university. For example, coaches look for athleticism, potential, academics, and the will to work hard on the field. These qualities not only make a great athlete but an excellent student. But sometimes, things tend to go overboard. Universities think that investing millions of dollars into a state-of-the-art athletic facility will allure and entice new talent that the coaches want. Coaches, of course, are not going to say no, don’t do it.
But will it work?
The attraction, glitz, and glamour to allure recruits into football programs is costing millions. For example, the University of Georgia spent $80 million to renovate its football facility. They not only turned it into a state-of-the-art athletic center but also added quite a bit of luxury—more luxury than you usually see professionally.
So, here is what the University of Georgia built.
- A locker room that is a high-class fancy lounge with many TVs for the players only.
- Each personal locker displays the player’s name, photo, and number on a TV screen with their own comfy seat.
- The locker room has its own barbershop and a nutrition bar players can sit and eat.
- A private dining area for players only.
- They installed therapy, plunge, and hydrotherapy pools.
- They have a uniform display room accessible only by facial recognition that shows uniforms and athletic gear.
- A state-of-the-art weight room for training and a sports medicine area that looks like a place to lounge your injuries rather than fix them.
So, if they build it, will they come?
A study was done about athletic facilities and their importance for recruits. Their results say a brand-new athletic facility has little to no influence on them. However, something they found was very interesting. The team’s conference winning percentage in the years prior that followed a coaching change was found to be more relevant than a state-of-the-art center.
Another explanation was state of the art, and luxurious facilities did not influence recruits because many colleges already did this. A recruit will not compare a facility’s state of the art and luxury when many offer it. Therefore, it loses competition, value, and importance, making it less of a must-have on a recruits want list.
Top Four Things Student-Athletes Want
1. Commitment to Success
2. Program Stability
3. Playing and knowing their place on the team.
4. Up-to-Date Facilities and Equipment
As you can see, the athletic facility is fourth on the list of importance. The coach’s commitment to the team, stability of the program, and playing were the most important. The facility is more of a perk and an attraction but not enough to affect choice.
When athletes are recruited, lots of promises are made. They are shown the glitz and the glamor. But ultimately, they must decide if the glitz and glamor outweigh the coach, a winning record, and a great football program.
An athlete’s ability, motivation, and will create progress and better performance. A state-of-the-art bench press machine does not make an athlete better. Again, it all comes down to the programming and coaches that maximize the athlete’s potential.
Having their name on their chair, a luxurious snack bar, etc., are all perks. But are those perks going to make a better athlete? Are those perks really going to provide some type of evolution in their football performance?