NORMAN — It’s wrong to call what’s happening in college football a “facility war.” In wars, decisive blows can be made and the struggle eventually ends.
There’s no climax in sight when it comes to college football powers erecting the best amenities for players. The failure to constantly build means falling behind in the race.
Oklahoma made major strides in that area the last five years. New locker rooms, a hydrotherapy area and massive team meeting room were added to the Switzer Center in 2009.
The opening of Headington Hall — the state-of-the-art dormitory that opened last August — was a game changer.
However, the $370 million in renovations to Owen Field and the Switzer Center approved by the schools’ regents on Wednesday put the Sooners on another plain in terms of facilities.
“This plan really meets every possible need we could need as a football team and all our athletic teams, it really is a great, great improvement in our meeting facilities, nutrition areas, workout facilities, on and on,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “It’s really, absolutely everything we could possibly want or need.”
The wish list, however, is constantly updating.
The Sooners made a massive facility push a decade ago. Once OU won the 2000 national championship, the Everest Indoor Center and Switzer Center quickly followed. One of the revenue streams that helped pay for them was the 8,000-seat expansion and the addition of more 30 luxury suites and club level.
Premium seats greatly aid in generating the revenue that fuels the facility battle. OU will add many more to the south end zone and the west side.
Those are the upgrades that are in plain sight. It’s the new weight room and training center OU believes will make the program impossible for targeted recruits to resist.
“We know what other universities are doing around the country; we’re trying to recognize. This is a generational project for us,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “We’re not just building this for the next two-to-five years; this is something we’re projecting out. So anything that relates to state-of-the-art, whether it’s right here now or coming into the year what we can anticipate in years to come, we can accommodate it.”