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Friday, April 23, 2021

Opinion

New Football Practice Facility Uses Parking Lot


Construction of the practice facility takes the place of a parking lot.| Thomas Dwyer/The Cougar

Last year around this time, the University of Houston announced its plan to construct an indoor practice facility for the football team. The mammoth 108,750 sq. foot structure will be nestled beside TDECU Stadium.

The building was proposed after one of UH’s most successful football seasons under former head coach Tom Herman. He pleaded with the University to build a facility strictly for football so the team wouldn’t have to share a building with other student athletes. The 22-year-old Athletics and Alumni Center, one of the only athletics facilities on campus, is shared by all sports, including the football team.

Instead of focusing their attention and budget on the students, the University has made its priorities clear with the implementation of the indoor facility.

I get it, facilities cost money, and money doesn’t grow on trees,” Herman said in November. “But if we want to continue this road that we are on, championship seasons, 9-, 10-, 11-win seasons year after year after year, you have to have good players. And in order to recruit good players you’ve got to have great facilities because guys want to know where they are going to spend the majority of their time and that they are going to be treated in a first-class way.”

The Board of Regents approved a $20 million budget for the structure, which is set to finish construction by the start of the upcoming season, which kicks off on Sept. 2.

The 120-yard turf field, located along Scott Street, takes the place of a parking lot formerly used by students and staff. Herman’s demand, which lingered after he left UH, is also taking up valuable parking spots. And parking on campus has become a real issue as the number of attending students increases.

Prioritizing football, especially in Texas, should come as no surprise to UH students. Our state glamorizes the sport and constructs these enormous arenas for entertainment. Even high schools in Texas pay homage to the football gods by constructing massive stadiums that rival some colleges’.

Not to mention the show “Friday Night Tykes,” which highlights the Lone Star State’s crazed fanaticism with football. The docu-series follows around kids as young as 8 participating in the violent game.

Only in Texas.

The facility serves as a slap in the face to UH students who already pay ridiculous amounts on tuition, not to mention the absurd amount required for a “parking pass,” which often doesn’t guarantee a spot. Lots have become overcrowded and most fill completely by noon, leaving purchasers of the pass feeling scammed.

Add to that other rising costs of attendance, such as tuition, meal plans and books, and overall, this practice field creates problems. Only a relative handful of student athletes will benefit from this facility, which displaces just as many, if not more, students who embark on a daily search to park.

Until then, UH students can enjoy a view of the newly resurrected practice facility from Holman Street, as they drive from lot to lot looking for a parking spot.

 

Staff writer Anthony Cianciulli is a broadcast journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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