Typically, — with my column being named “the Turner Power Index” — this is where I would put together a top-five list of something sports related. Two weeks ago it was school colors, last week it was pump-up songs, but something has been all over the Internet and even TV that I felt the need to address.
This has been an interesting week for me. I’ve been flooded with e-mails and text messages about one thing in particular, and although it’s not necessarily a local focus here in Newton, it does represent a bigger issue. So, this being my opportunity to share my feeling with the reading public, I’m going to take it.
First off, I need to expose my bias. I am and always will be a University of Oregon Duck. That is my alma mater. It’s where I have some of my fondest memories, and Eugene, Ore. will always be a special place to me. With that aside, I feel the need to say something about the recently released photos of my proud university’s extravagant, gluttonous new football complex.
The U of O just finished construction on a new complex that will house the lockers, meeting rooms, offices and anything else football related at the University of Oregon. The building is an elaborate construction of exorbitant expression of school pride, and while I do think it is awesome — and c’mon it is — I also feel like it’s a bit too much.
The building has, among other things, a 25,000-square foot weight room with Brazilian Ipe wood floors, a barber shop, fully furnished bathrooms with 50-inch TVs in the mirrors, a fully staffed cafeteria with a neon sign that reads “Eat your enemies and the other food groups,” a players’ lounge with a pool table, a head coach’s office with TVs coming out of the ceiling and of course a lobby display with 64 individual TV screens measured at 55 inches each.
Now, while all these amenities would make the U of O a very attractive destination as a potential player. It really turns me off as an alumnus. There is no bigger supporter of Oregon athletics than I am, especially football, but really? Do we really need a 25,000-square foot weight room?
To be fair, a good number of academic buildings and student services have been redone in the past few years.
For instance, the journalism school’s Allen Hall should be reopening this year with some fancy new renovations, and the student rec center just began a renovation project that will place the facility amongst the best in the nation, but there are plenty of dormitories and old school buildings to where this money would have gone to much better use. It’s not as if the football facilities were in blatant disrepair.
I don’t know if this was all private funding or whether it was revenue generated by the football program that was reinserted back into the athletic department, but either way I’m borderline appalled by the university’s excessive cash-flashing gesture. The construction of this voracious Mecca of football is the equivalent to “making it rain” on the rest of the PAC-12, and if you’ve ever seen Washington State’s facilities, you know what I mean.
I realize that these facilities will do nothing but enhance the already mighty legacy of Nike U, and the advanced technology implemented in the complex will do nothing but attract recruits.
However, I feel like the funds that were used here could have been better implemented to heighten the academic experience, which would benefit the entire Oregon community.
So those are my two cents, and I will have many friends who disagree with my stance on this. Although this may be the defining characteristic of an Oregon football program that has strived to stay ahead of the curve, it comes at a cost to the entire student body.