Let’s take it outside

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Every time it rains in the spring or fall, I’m invariably asked this question, and it drives me absolutely nuts: When are the Gators going to build an indoor football practice facility?

Just writing the question makes me cringe.

My reply is usually the same: Why in the wide, wide world of sports would Florida need an indoor practice facility?

It doesn’t.

This is Florida. It doesn’t snow. It never gets too cold to practice football. Rain has never been a major disruption for as long as I’ve been around here (and that’s a long, long time). And besides, football is played in the elements, so it should be practiced in the elements.

Just ask the 2002 team about that last one. The Gators spent a lot of their preseason practice time that year dealing with some rain (and practicing in it). Early in the season, they went to Knoxville and it poured. While the Vols, who had not been practicing in the rain, fumbled the ball all over Neyland Stadium, the Gators played like they were on a dry field on a bright sunny day.  It resulted in no turnovers and a 30-13 victory over Tennessee.

I have some other thoughts about how ludicrous it would be to have an indoor facility.

Who would pay for it? Where would they put it? What would the UAA do with it the other 363 or 364 days of the year that it would not be needed? It would just sit there, an empty million-dollar vacant building.

The pro-indoor facility guys like to throw this one back at me: Not having an indoor practice facility hurts recruiting.

That is laughable. In all the years I’ve covered recruiting (again, it’s many), I never once heard a recruit say he didn’t sign with Florida because the Gators were missing an indoor practice facility that he would be practicing in maybe once or twice in his four or five years in Gainesville.

The bottom line is there is no argument for building an indoor practice facility. None. So let’s drop it and take this thing outside (and leave it there).

13 COMMENTS

  1. “Who would pay for it? Where would they put it? What would the UAA do with it the other 363 or 364 days of the year that it would not be needed? It would just sit there, an empty million-dollar vacant building.”

    1. The millionarae looking for naming rights.
    2. In the ground floor of a new parking garage.
    3. The same thing they do with BHG Stadium for the other 359 days of the year it isn’t needed or used, not even as a solar collector.
    4. What’s one more million-dollar vacant building on a campus with a dozens of them ranging from $500m BHG to varsity-only sports facilities to University Auditoreum?

  2. Well said Robbie. Anyone who has ever played organized tackle football knows that practicing in the rain – or other elements – never hurts. In fact it is usually a positive thing. as it was for the Gators in 2002 in Knoxville.

  3. It rains in the Swamp, too. Should we put a dome on BHG Stadium? The Florida sunshine is part of UF’s appeal. I see no benefit (for recruiting or game prep) in building an indoor practice facility.

  4. If someone thinks we should have an indoor facility and wants to pay for it out of their own pocket, that’s fine with me.

    The one thing it might allow you to do would be to hold illegal practices out of sight of others, but I don’t think we’re the kind of school that would do that.