Oregon's New $68M Football Center Lauded As One Of Best In America
The Univ. of Oregon's new Football Performance Center adjacent to Autzen Stadium is a "combination of seriousness and whimsy," as the space is "filled with militaristic meeting rooms, spacious individualized player lockers, plush offices for coaches," and a two-story weight room, according to Mark Johnson of the Eugene REGISTER-GUARD. The facility also includes an "eating area that teases Pac-12 opponents, two practice fields, and welcoming and comfortable gathering areas." The facility is a gift from UO benefactor and Nike co-Founder & Chair Phil Knight, so the "price tag has been cloaked." However, estimates have put the building at $68M (REGISTERGUARD.com, 7/31). SI.com's Ian Thomsen wrote the 145,000-square-foot facility is "sure to set a new standard in the arms race to recruit and develop football talent." The specific color pantones of UO's uniforms are "threaded throughout the building; the black-glass walls of the meeting rooms serve as writing boards; several other walls are lined in Nike football leather." The complex "promises to be a major draw for recruits," as the facade is "black glass meant to cloak the building in mystery while also providing bright sunlit spaces within" (SI.com, 7/31). NFL.com's Dan Greenspan wrote the facility marks the "pinnacle of a building boom in the Pac-12." The center makes recent renovations at Alabama "look like the Crimson Tide simply splashed on a new coat of paint." Knight "understands the resources necessary to bring" great players to UO, and that "means he will simply outspend anyone hoping to outdo his new gift" (NFL.com, 7/31).
GET A LEG UP: ESPN's Tony Kornheiser noted the football facility is "really something because of the advantage in recruiting it gives to Oregon." He noted the coach's office has a hot tub and the building has its own barber shop. ESPN's Michael Wilbon said the facility is "an advantage immediately, but every school is building something" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/31). Meanwhile, ESPN's Bomani Jones said UO can build this facility "when you don’t pay the players." Jones: "They're like, 'Hey, if we have to pay the players how are we ever going to pay for this pool table?' Trust me, the kids would rather have the cash. Your fancy building is great … (but) give the boys that money in cash" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/31).