Oregon State is the latest school in join in the college hoops arms race, as they unveiled the new OSU Basketball Center on Tuesday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Gary Payton, AC Green, Jared Cunningham and head coach Craig Robinson were among the notable names in attendance.
The OSU Basketball Center is a 34,500-square-foot, four-story, $15 million structure that features two regulation basketball courts on the first and third floors along with locker rooms, satellite training and medical areas, and service and mechanical space. The second and fourth floors include coach and program staff offices that offer panoramic views of the basketball courts.
“This is a huge marketing tool,” Robinson said. “We all love this place. We all know this place. We all know this is the place most people want to come to go to school, but the fact of the matter is, when you’re recruiting against folks who have more resources, who live in larger metropolitan areas, we have to have something that gets them here to visit this place. That’s what this practice facility will do.”
And he’s right.
When your biggest in-state rival is Oregon, whose athletic facilities — funded by Phil Knight’s Nike money — rival that of any professional team in any sport, you need to do something to compete, especially when Oregon is far from the only school shoveling as much money as possible into developing newer and better practice center, weight rooms and arenas.
Here’s the irony.
While newer and better facilities may attract more talent to the school and help develop that talent to the point that they can play at the next level, the fact of the matter is that it’s investments like this that are one of the reasons that so many athletic departments operate in the red. Less than 10% of the athletic departments of public schools in Division I had enough revenue to cover their expenses.
The argument against paying players — or, you know, at least getting them stipends or cost of attendance scholarships — is that these athletic departments are broke.
If the athletic departments are broke, where do they keep coming up with the millions needed to build another brand-new, state-of-the-art athletic center?
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.