ATHENS — I was surfing the Internet recently and ran across a rather interesting story in the Palm Beach Post. Some might call it ironic.
The fellow Cox newspaper reports that the University of Miami is one of only four Power Five teams in college football that does not have an indoor practice facility at the moment. And apparently that number is about to be reduced by one, as Boston College now has plans under way to build a permanent facility (it currently uses an inflatable bubble set-up over its stadium field, which is interesting in itself).
That will leave “The U” as the only ACC football program without an indoor facility.
Miami, you may recall, is now coached by Mark Richt. Of course, Richt pined for years about getting one at Georgia. He eventually did, but wasn’t able to stick around long enough to see it happen. Construction began in mid-December, or about two weeks after Richt was fired.
Not coincidentally, I suspect, Miami Athletic Director Blake James came out recently and called the Hurricanes’ need for an indoor practice facility “a top priority.” He said they are actively seeking major donors.
“Everyone recognizes how important it is for the long-term success of our program,” James said.
One might wonder why Miami, with its year-round warm weather, might be in the market for such a building. Actually, the Hurricanes struggle more than most programs with weather-related issues. According to the Post, the Hurricanes endured 15 rain-delayed, postponed or canceled practices in 2014. No weather stats were available for last season but, according to the National Weather Service, it rains 33 percent of the time in April and that rises sharply when preseason camp is being conducted. August is one of the wettest months of the year in that area of the country.
As for Georgia, while it was the last SEC team to pull the trigger on an indoor facility, it is making up for lost time with this one. Not only is it expected to be one of the finest in the country — and at $30.2 million, one would expect it to be — but donors have a stepped up in a big way. At last report, UGA has received more than $23 million in signed pledges through the Magill Society, which now boast 300 members. The initial fundraising goal was $15 million.
At least Richt knows who to call if he needs any pointers.