- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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There is one major way to keep up with the Joneses throughout college football -- improve and/or expand your facilities.
Syracuse and Louisville have recently announced plans to that end, moves that should help the two schools look more attractive to incoming recruits while also offering some of the same state-of-the art upgrades that student-athletes already have at competing institutions.
With the Orange moving on to the ACC, the need to improve facilities took on even more urgency. The $5 million project will upgrade the locker room, student-athlete lounge, cafeteria, Hall of Fame lobby, and team auditorium in the main football facility, which has lagged behind others not only across the Big East but across the country.
“It is time that we do something spectacular for football. We have the Carmelo Anthony Center on one side of the Manley complex and the new football renovated facility, with an obvious entrance, will be the cornerstone on the other side,” athletics director Daryl Gross said. “We will integrate the great history of Syracuse football into the present vision of Coach Doug Marrone's football team, which is vital as we climb back into prominence and eventually transition into the ACC. It is very important that we maintain the highest level of student-athlete welfare for our football program.”
A huge selling point for incoming players could be the Hall of Fame lobby, which rightfully will emphasize the deep history and tradition at Syracuse. The legacy of Jim Brown, John Mackey, Floyd Little, Dwight Freeney, Marvin Harrison and Donovan McNabb will be on prominent display. So will the team's bowl success. Ernie Davis' Heisman Trophy will have its own presentation.
“The renovations to our facility will directly impact the accomplishments of our football program, as well as provide an enormous positive effect on our recruiting endeavors,” Marrone said in a statement.
At Louisville, athletic department officials were recently authorized to start fundraising for a $7.5 million expansion of the football complex, next to the football stadium. Coach Charlie Strong has proposed an 18,000 square-foot addition to the complex, which opened in 1998.
Louisville will raise the money privately to finance more space for the training room and weight room, in addition to upgrades in other areas. State-of-the-art weight rooms have become essential in the world of college football today.
"What we're trying to do is upgrade," Strong said last week. "It's all about just making sure that you stay up to date, you keep moving with everyone else. When you bring in recruits, they look around. They don't know what they're looking for half the time, but it's all about where you're just staying to keep up with every other program."