Florida State Seminoles Football is falling behind its rivals. However, this isn’t about a bad record, a mediocre and aging coaching staff, or even possibly losing Jimbo Fisher.
FSU is falling behind in football facilities. While the ’Noles upgraded the existing facility and locker room in 2014 and will be building a larger football-only complex soon, Florida and Clemson have lapped them in the years since.
The old adage of “Jimmies and Joes” is still true. What matters most in college football is recruiting. Recruits adore new facilities. And facilities are embodiments of the program investing in them.
The purpose of a stand-alone football facility, preferably near athletic dorms, is to make sure you’re maximizing the talents of those recruits. And keeping them around a safe facility where they can do anything— socialize with teammates, eat, watch film, etc.
The Florida Gators announced a brand new stand alone facility in September of 2016. The $100 million facility is set to begin construction in the coming months. It features three floors and ample space; floor space is at a premium in FSU’s current facility.
In conference, Clemson already opened their eye-popping new facility. The $55 million pays for every necessity a college football player could ever need, including a slide from the locker room to the practice fields. Is that kind of childish? Probably. But recruits are kids. Clemson’s facility also pays homage to their well known traditions. They have a full-sized replica of “The Hill,” complete with Howard’s Rock.
All that stuff? Recruits eat it up.
Facilities have been raised as an issue this year by Fisher and have often seemed to be a red herring for a poor season. Fisher has been frustrated by the lack of investment in these facilities. He was frustrated that College Town received funding (a long-term investment in campus and game-day culture) that could have gone into facility projects.
Florida State also does not have the support staff of other southeastern rivals. While nobody expects several former head coaches on staff like there are at Alabama, improvement in this area is decidedly necessary. Fisher and his super agent Jimmy Sexton leveraged open coaching positions elsewhere over the last two years to secure investments in upgraded contracts for Fisher and his staff.
Make no mistake— Seminole Boosters should not be caving to demands from Fisher coming off a 5 or 6 win regular season. Seminole Boosters should be, and are, investing in the program.
Florida’s University Athletic Association announced a new facility over a year ago. Clemson opened their facility around National Signing Day this year. New Gator head coach Dan Mullen and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney have been and will be using these facilities in their pitches to recruits.
The Boosters should not be investing in a new facility because Jimbo Fisher wants it. Boosters are investing in a new facility because they want to be a serious football program. Football facilities and continuing investments in football (including support staff) are necessary. Not to appease Fisher. But to keep up with the Joneses.