The days of the dorm made exclusively for athletes have been long gone in collegiate athletics, as the NCAA prohibited such practices in the 1990s. The new rules specified that 51 percent of the residents in the dorm would have to be non-athletes, thus ensuring (in theory) that the athletes wouldn’t receive living arrangements far superior to those available to students who don’t play sports.
But that hasn’t stopped schools from building palatial digs with their athletes in mind, with the facilities “arms race” not only dealing with arenas and weight rooms but dorms as well. NC State has entered the mix, as the Raleigh News & Observer reported that a new dorm being financed entirely by Wolfpack Club donations has been approved by the UNC Board of Governors.
The building will be named Case Commons Residence Hall (after the school’s winningest coach, Everett Case), with members of the mens and women’s basketball teams living there (in addition to the resident advisors and non-athletes), and thanks to the need for larger beds the project won’t come cheap either.
(UNC Board of Governors member Marty) Kotis, a commercial real estate investor, expressed concern about the cost per bed of the project, which is roughly $240,000, compared to typical dorms that range from $50,000 to $70,000.
“The red flag was the high cost per bed, which is really high,” Kotis said.
Considering that many student facilities are arranged in four-person suites, that would equate to $1 million per suite, he added.
Three of the 32 members of the board voted against the project, with Kotis citing the price of the project as noted in the quote above. But projects of this caliber are seen as a necessary expense for programs looking to “keep up with the Joneses,” especially in this new era that sees more schools looking to at the very least meet the full cost of attendance.
Kansas announced a similar project last year, and with the media contracts that the five most powerful football conferences either have or will have (the Big Ten’s media deals expire after the 2016-17 academic year) don’t be surprised if more schools look to do the same. It helps even more when supporters of the programs are willing to make donations to get these jobs done, as is the case at NC State.