Attention Dan Guerrero's Replacement: Fix UCLA's Football Facilities (Part 4-The Pac-12)

BERKELEY CA - NOVEMBER 13: A general view taken from the hill overlooking the California Memorial Stadium during the Oregon Ducks game against the California Golden Bears on November 13 2010 in Berkeley California. Cal has undergone major facility upgrades including to Memorial Stadium. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In Part 1 of this series, we argued that a program of UCLA's historical stature deserves first-class facilities, especially for the football team, given the primacy of football for an athletic department's bottom line. In Part 2, we demonstrated that investing money in the football program generally can improve the bottom line for the athletic department and even the university as a whole.  We also demonstrated that schools can win by putting money into the program and failing to invest in the program pretty much guarantees a lack of success. In Part 3, we looked at some of the premier facilities around the country.  This post will examine some of the facilities in the Pac-12.  Again, as in Part 3, this is a timely topic as we will soon be looking for a new football coach and hopefully a new athletic director.  UCLA needs an elite coach and a top-notch AD, both of whom will rightfully insist on facilities upgrades, particularly when the football team had to get ready for the game against ASU without hot water last Thursday.  Dan Guerrero is the Tom Hansen of Pac-12 ADs, presiding over an athletic department infected with resiliant and institutional rot, a diseased culture of mediocrity and an ivory tower mentality. Bruins fans are sick and tired of Dan Guerrero and the Morgan's Center's insular culture and stuck-in-the-past mindset: it's time for wholesale regime change in Westwood.

Numerous other Pac-12 programs have upgraded or are in the process of upgrading their facilities.  UCLA needs to upgrade its facilities to keep up in the facilities arms race.

Oregon has received a lot of publicity for its facility upgrades, and rightfully so.  Oregon recently completed an academic center.  It has also built the Moshofsky Center, the first indoor practice facility on the West Coast.  In addition to offering protection from the elements,

the center features full climate control to allow for simulated heat, humidity, and wind, as well as crowd simulation. The center also hosts an auxiliary medical treatment center, catering services, meeting and storage facilities, and an athlete lounge.

Oregon's practice facilities actually help them prepare for the games.  Oregon also has a center housing its football locker room and weight room.  There have been numerous renovations and upgrades to the facility, which includes amenities such as individually-ventilated lockers and lighting that adjusts to match the lighting outside.

In this five-star, two-story gridiron getaway, where the wood-paneled lockers have Internet ports, ventilation systems and plates engraved with every players' name, jersey number and hometown, grass stains can look as out of place as a rusty padlock.

But Oregon is planning to upgrade the Casanova center yet again:

University of Oregon Athletics are getting yet another major facelift thanks again to Nike co-founder Phil Knight who is going to finance the expansion of the Len Casanova center, as well as a new facility for the women's soccer and lacrosse programs.

The heart of the Oregon Athletics Department -- the Len Casanova Center -- will soon be expanded by 130-thousand square feet to the north and to the west, part of a much bigger plan to create a state-of-the-art operation center for Duck football.

USC has planned a 110,000 square foot athletic facility:

A new 110,000-square foot building that will house meeting rooms, coaches offices and a locker room for the football program, as well as an academic center, weight room, athletic training room and state-of-the-art digital media production facility for all of USC's 21 sports, will be built directly west of Heritage Hall on the USC campus, Trojan athletic director Pat Haden announced today (Oct. 30).

USC's new athletic facility will include a 32,000 square foot weight room, academic services and football offices and meeting rooms:

The new building's basement, which will be connected to Heritage Hall's basement, will be approximately 60,000 square feet and will house a 32,000-square foot weight room (USC's current weight room in Heritage Hall is 9,600-square feet), an 18,000-square foot athletic training room (the current athletic training room is 2,700-square feet) and men's and women's locker rooms. A football locker room with an adjacent lounge will have access to the entrance of the nearby football practice field.

Cal has significantly invested in its facilities and its football program:

The University of California has begun to see the value of a successful football program.  Perhaps AD Sandy Barbour was swayed by additional revenue and donations following the 2004-06 season in which the Bears went 28-9.  Cal has since broken ground on new athletics facilities as well as begun remodeling Memorial Stadium.  Simply put, Cal is supporting their football program in ways that UCLA is not.

Among Cal's facilities improvements are rrenovations to Memorial Stadium and its Student-Athlete High Performance Center:

The SAHPC is a revolutionary student-athlete training, coaching, and applied sports science and sports medicine center. The SAHPC embodies the High Performance Initiative (HPI), Cal's innovative performance philosophy designed to build competitive advantage, maximize efficiency and enhance the student-athlete experience.

A 142,000 square-foot facility, the SAHPC is a state-of-the-art complex with year-round access for over 450 student-athletes. The SAHPC is home to the locker rooms, meeting rooms and offices for Cal football and several Cal Olympic sports. Importantly, the academic center gives student-athletes access to the resources they need — from computers to tutors — to meet the high standards that have always been the hallmark of our great university.

The performance center will include an 18,700 square foot strength and conditioning center, a therapy and rehab area, an academic support area, staff offices, locker rooms, and nutrition.

Also, UCLA is in a better financial position than Cal, and yet Cal has still decided to make investments in its facilities:

In budget news, the L.A. Times has a discussion of the new $3 billion television deal that the Pac-12 just completed and the financial impact it will have for cash-strapped athletic departments, such as Cal.  Cal, needing to borrow money from the academic side of the university, still managed to make Jeff Tedford the highest paid University of California employee.  UCLA, on the other hand, is in the black, will be getting a major cash infusion from the television deal, and yet, we still aren't willing to pay top dollar for a big name, big time coach (read: Dan, offer to pay Urban a lot of money; at least freakin' ask!).  WTF Dan.

Washington is upgrading its facilities quite a bit as well, including major renovations to Husky Stadium. In fact, Washington officially broke ground on the Husky Stadium renovations on November 7:

Washington broke ground Monday on its $250 million renovation of Husky Stadium, an 18-month project that will kick the Huskies out of the 91-year-old building until September 2013.

“This is truly a project built by the fans and for the fans and for that we are truly, truly grateful,” Washington President Michael Young said.

The renovation funding is to include $50 million in private donations. According to documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request, the school already has $17.9 million of that in hand.

The school says it has nearly $44 million total in signed pledges. The school says many of its donors plan to spread their donations over a five-year period, but there was no set total needed to break ground on the project, only internal goals for the fundraising efforts.

The renovations will remove the track, add premium seating, and adding a football operations center:

Football operations support building housing locker rooms, weight rooms, team meeting rooms, recruiting lounges, player lounges and coaches offices integrated into the west end zone

In addition, Washington built the Dempsey Indoor practice facility in 2001.  UW also built Husky Legends Center in 2007.  Windemere Dining Hall was renovated in 2005.  UW also built a sports medicine facility in 1999 and renovated its weight room in 2007.  Washington also built an academic center in 2005.

Stanford made extensive renovations to Stanford Stadium, even though it is located in a very wealthy community filled with tech billionaires and endless Google money.  The renovations even included a $70,000 bathroom for the head coach.  The renovations were initially projected to cost $85 million, and eventually cost about $90 million.  As Stanford realized, and we've pointed out time and again:

In addition to replacing the dilapidated old structure, the plan also was driven by a compelling need to increase football revenue. Successful football teams at major universities typically generate enough profit to partially subsidize other sports programs. It’s partly a function of scale—whereas one football game might attract 50,000 spectators, many sports cannot sell that many tickets in multiple seasons. When Leland arrived at Stanford in 1991, football ticket sales generated $4 million and accounted for 18 percent of the athletic department’s overall income. In 2005, football still earned just $4.2 million in ticket sales, which represented only 7 percent of all funds. Stanford athletics has weathered the Cardinal’s middling financial performance because it has a huge endowment (the largest of any athletic department in the nation) and, oddly, because of the success of two-time national champion USC, among others. As a Pac-10 member, Stanford gets a share of revenues generated by the Rose Bowl and Bowl Championship Series whether or not it qualifies for either. Whew.

In addition to stadium renovations, Stanford also built a new dining hall, Arrillaga Family Dining Common, with athletic performance in mind:

Stanford Dining is has created a new dining program called Wellness and Performance dining which was developed in partnership with Stanford Athletics, School of Medicine and the Culinary Institute of America. This involves synergistic food combinations and promotion of antioxidants and other nutrients to help students perform at their mental and physical peak. Stanford Dining employs a full-time Wellness and Performance Dining Nutritionist, who counsels students and student athletes, and consults for groups such as the athletics department. Wellness and Performance Dining falls under our EatWell program, which encompasses fresh, healthy and sustainable food.

Arrillaga is a 35,000 square foot facility, built at a cost of $20 million.

Utah is upgrading its football facilities as well, with a new 57,000 square foot football complex.

As we mentioned in Part 1:

While UCLA did renovate the Acosta Center, to include a 15,000 square foot weight room, 8,000 square feet for athletic training and rehabilitation, and the Bud Knapp Football Center, which includes the locker rooms, equipment room, and nine meeting rooms and a team meeting room, the facilities are not in the top of the conference or comparable programs.  As we have demonstrated, financially, football is the most important sport for the financial health of an athletic department, and spending on football and reinvesting in the football program makes a lot of sense.

However, the Acosta Center renovations were simply not visionary enough.  UCLA needs to upgrade facilities, generally and focusing on football.  The baseline needs to be at lest equal to the improvements made by USC and Cal.  In the next and final installment of this series, we will provide specific recommendations and solutions.

This is a multi-part series analyzing UCLA's facilities and the failure of the current regime to invest in facilities.  Facilties Part 1 is an introductory post; Facilities Part 2 looks at how investments in football can pay off; Facilities Part 3 examines some premier facilities around the country.

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