Ahead of Higher Ed: If you build it, they might come
Colorado State University is stuck with an average football conference, ill-fitted stadium and less-than-satisfactory game turnout. However, the university is attempting to turn all these things around by constructing a new stadium — a project in which UH has just constructionally reached a halfway point.
CSU and UH also share another motivation for building a new stadium: more impressive recruits.
“When we bring prospective recruits here to be able to show them that they’re going to be playing in a state-of-the-art facility like this, the new stadium will certainly be an asset,” said Mack Rhoades, vice president for intercollegiate athletics, in a July press release.
Although no studies demonstrate a definitive link between better recruits and a new stadium, CSU administration trusts in the possibility.
“At the end of the day, athletics is part of what drives national attention for the university,” said CSU Director of Public Relations and Business and Community Development Kyle Henley, speaking to Inside Higher Ed. “We’re a university on the rise, and fundamentally, at the end of the day, if we’re not part of that national conversation at the athletic level, we’re missing out on opportunities.”
But CSU is fighting a battle UH has not: opposition from its campus community. Inside Higher Ed reports that many faculty and staff members oppose the $226 million construction, and the majority of students initially opposed it before they knew that funding was coming from private money and borrowed funds, not tuition.
The new $100 million-plus UH stadium, according to the Houston Football Stadium website, is funded by private donations, a student fee that was approved in a referendum by the student body, the higher education assistance fund and potential future facility management.
With the decrease in state funding that is becoming a national trend, CSU, and UH for that matter, likely hope to see a correlation between their new stadiums and the attraction of better players, which leads to a more successful team and to an increase in profit from athletics, as seen with University of Oregon, according to the Wall Street Journal.