Within the past couple of years, American Athletic Conference programs Houston and Tulane have opened the doors to new stadiums. In 2007, Central Florida opened Bright House Networks stadium. Now, South Florida is hoping to join its AAC counterparts when it comes to an on-campus facility.
USF athletic director Mark Harlan told the school's board of trustees this week he's beginning a five-year strategic plan, which included the possibility of building an on-campus stadium. As the Tampa Bay Times notes, the biggest hurdle is financing, not location. "The great thing about this campus is there are multiple (location) opportunities," Harlan told reporters.
The cash flow is another thing.
"Simply put, in 2012 and 2013, we had $11.4 million from the conference (Big East) that we were in," Harlan added. "Today it's closer to $6.4 (million)."
Additionally, donor support was at about $2.5 million for 2014-15, a little less than one-third of the average of what other public AAC programs received ($7.7 million).
Still, Bulls football is on the upswing. Head coach Willie Taggart appears to have the team turning in the right direction after finishing the '15 season with an 8-5 record, winning seven of their last eight regular-season games. If you're going to unveil a five-year feasibility plan for a program-defining facility, now is the time to do it.
Whether the stadium is actually feasible is another question entirely. It's not uncommon for new stadiums to run in the neighborhood of $75-$80 million or more (Houston's was upwards of $128 million). That's an expensive club to join regardless, but especially so if conference distribution and donor funds are trending negatively.
(Via Tampa Bay Times)