USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities to play at the college level. Jason Smith is a former NCAA III athlete and college coach at all three division levels. Jason is just one of many former college and professional athletes, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most-successful athletic-recruiting network in the country.
If you’re going to do something, might as well do it in style, right? At least that’s the mindset that many athletic recruits have when it comes to picking out where they’re going to compete in college. It’s no secret that college athletes have busy schedules that include classes, studying and lots of training and practice time. That’s why training facilities can become a big draw for recruits, since they will be spending so much time there over their next four years of school. So, before you schedule your unofficial or official visits, also consider checking out the impressive sports facilities at these schools.
One of the most impressive sports facilities in college sports, the Walter Athletics Center sits right on the beach and offers majestic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Also: a 13,000-square-foot “performance center,” a 14,000-square-foot weight room and close proximity to campus. Oh, and a $270 million price tag. Not too shabby.
Have $28 million sitting around? Well, maybe you can also build a shiny new recruiting center and locker room, which Auburn University did in the southwest corner of Jordan-Hare Stadium. The 44,000-foot-space is an impressive addition to what’s already a great college stadium.
University of Minnesota
The winters in Minneapolis can get a bit chilly, to say the least. Fortunately, student-athletes at the University of Minnesota now have a brand-new facility to hang out in. The $166 million University of Minnesota Athletes Village is 338,000 square feet, serves approximately 750 student-athletes, and includes an academic center, leadership development center and nutrition center.
Fresh off winning the College Football Playoff National Championship, the Clemson Tigers are riding a wave of success. One could say it’s partially due to the Allen N. Reeves Football Complex, which opened in 2017 and likely made quite an impression on new recruits. The facility is 142,000 square feet, cost $55 million, and includes features such as a barber shop and two-lane bowling alley.
College of the Holy Cross
Opened in early 2018, the newly renovated Hart Center and Luth Athletic Complex cost $95 million to complete. It offers plenty of features, including a 100-yard turf field, 10 new or updated team locker rooms, and 3,000 square feet of sports medicine space. It’s used by 700 student-athletes and 27 teams.
University of Alabama
Nutrition is a major part of any athlete’s success. Recognizing this, the University of Alabama decided to invest $14 million into building a state-of-the-art, 25,000-square-foot, bi-level Sports and Nutrition facility. Inside, athletes can find five chefs, four dietitians, a smoothie bar and plenty of tasty food. You hungry yet?
The new Long Family Football Operations Center cost a cool $50 million and offers some really unique features, including an in-house recording studio. Sure, a recording may not have a lot to do with sports, but it sure looks fun. On the other hand, the giant, pristine weight room is going to get players ready for game day.
University of Michigan
The recently opened South Competition and Performance Project is a $168 million, 280,000-square-foot athletics facility at the University of Michigan that accommodates over half of the school’s 900 student-athletes. The facility includes some cool water equipment, including cold tubs, a hot tub, a rehab pool and underwater exercise bikes.