Captain's Corner: Importance Of Facilities

People unfamiliar with college football might take a look at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and be surprised that a college football team would have such a big facility, but this is the norm these days for big-time collegiate athletics. It also may carry some importance to the future success of a program as well. In today's Captain's Corner, Jerry Rudzinski discusses the WHAC and football facilities and what they mean to a program.

When the Woody Hayes Athletic Center opened, it was one of the best in the Big Ten. It was also one of the first in the Big Ten. Whether it was players, parents, or coaches, nobody could believe they actually built this place for a football team…a football team. Since then, school after school has opened facilities to recruit and create efficiency within the program.

The athletic program and generous donors have pumped money into the Woody Hayes. An updated atrium, new strength and conditioning equipment, and field turf are just some of the updates seen through the years. This facility is equipped with player lounges, coaching offices, hot tubs, and video towers. While they do not have training table and study table at the facility, the best part is the indoor field. You could play a game in that indoor field. Many big time facilities barely have enough room to kick a ball or go deep into the sidelines.

I tend to think a player chooses a school because of exposure (to the fans, to the television audience, to the NFL) as well as education and overall fit with the coaches and players. Facilities are icing on the cake in my mind. Schools that think a big donation for fancy lockers and 25,000 extra bleachers will all the sudden make recruits back out of verbal commitments to USC are dead wrong. You need to provide exposure, education, and people.

Now on the flip side, the facilities are not a bad thing. Facilities make a statement about being first-class. Facilities make a statement about off-season training. Facilities make a statement about player comfort. Facilities make a statement about football on the athletic department's pecking order.

OSU plans to pump even more money into the WHAC. They should. The time is right. Whether it is right or wrong, many insiders and experts think of big-time D-I football as "the NFL without paying the players." This is big business making big money. I can promise you that Coach Tressel will not let those facilities go without use.

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