We live in a world where the Florida football program is modeling its new state-of-the-art facility after Kentucky’s. What a time to be alive.
The Tampa Bay Times recently profiled the rise of multi-million dollar complexes dedicated exclusively to college football programs. With more than a billion dollars spent nationally since 2013, the headlines tend to gravitate toward the extreme, like Clemson’s slide and Texas A&M’s TV-filled mirrors.
Kentucky’s $45 million Joe Craft Football Training Facility has all of the bells and whistles, but that’s not why it stands above the rest in the country. The University of Florida toured UK’s facility to see how Kentucky created one of the country’s most efficient football complexes.
“Everything’s there,” C.J. Conrad said.
It’s all there because a program’s most limited resource is time.
NCAA rules limit coaches to only four hours of player interaction daily, and players’ schedules are packed with class and training. If a new building can eliminate a 15-minute trip across campus, that’s 15 extra minutes they can spend watching film, studying or unwinding.
The same principle applies to a facility’s layout.
The Wildcats’ weight room flows to the practice fields, so players can transition easily from lifts to sprints. The practice fields flow to the 52-degree plunge pool for recovery. The hydrotherapy area flows to the locker room, where players can shower and change before heading to tutoring, meetings or the players’ lounge.
Kentucky has mastered the art of efficiency, but I wish they kept that secret. It could have been a valuable bargaining chip to move the annual game against the Gators from September to November.