In college football arms race, BYU is latest with much-needed locker room overhaul

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BYU unveils new changing rooms for football players in the Student Athlete Building on Monday, June 21, 2021, in Provo. © BYU PHOTO 2020 (Nate Edwards, BYU Photo)

PROVO – One of the latest trends in the college football arms race hit the BYU campus on Monday.

The Cougars, who compete as independents in soccer, have long been proud to offer Power Five level competitions, facilities and extras such as uniforms and equipment.

But on Monday afternoon, players discovered the first locker room upgrade at the Student Athlete Building training center since the center opened in 2004.

Located on the main level of the building, the new locker room offers a 75-yard-long locker room inspired by similar designs used by the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, as well as convenient access for players and coaches to the facility and facilities. Adjacent rooms for equipment, athletics training facilities, weight training and conditioning, training grounds and meeting rooms.

One of the walls features worn jerseys and gear for BYU coaches who have played for the Cougars, such as former BYU full-back and current head coach Kalani Sitake and former BYU wide receiver Aaron Roderick, the new offensive coordinator of the team.

There’s also room for a display rack for an assortment of historic and current BYU gear from Nike, new shuffleboard and TV sets in a living room, and gear pickup lockers. The changing rooms in the premises of the football staff and former students were also renovated during the work which began in April.

“This is great. We are very grateful to the staff, administration and the school for these renovations,” the BYU center and returning team captain James Empey said in a statement. university. “We are fortunate to have such a nice place to use as we get ready for practices, practices and games. I loved that they involved us as players and made sure to ask us what what we were looking for and what we wanted in a locker room. It was great to have that input into the process. There’s so much attention to detail. It’s awesome. “

Newly renovated football locker room in the student athlete building, unveiled to players and coaches on Monday, June 21, 2021 in Provo.
Newly renovated football locker room in the student athlete building, unveiled to players and coaches on Monday, June 21, 2021 in Provo. (Photo: Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)

The Cougars are not the first to modernize their facilities, and they will not be the last. They are not even the first in the state of Utah.

Two years ago, Weber State unveiled new locker rooms that feature a similar aesthetic to the renovated parts of BYU as part of a $ 16 million facility upgrade near Stewart Stadium in Ogden. The renovation included 120 new lockers, the Barbara and Rory Youngberg Football Center and the Stromberg Strength and Conditioning Complex, as well as expanded equipment, coaching offices and station group meeting rooms.

The University of Utah is currently renovating the Rice-Eccles Stadium as part of an $ 80 million renovation announced nearly three years ago that includes a new home and locker rooms, the addition of nearly 5 000 seats in the south zone and a closed lower bowl which will increase the capacity from 45,807 to 51,444 for the next football season.

The new Utes stadium was made possible in large part by a donation of $ 17.5 million from the Ken Garff family and approximately $ 35 million in philanthropic donations.

As a private university, BYU does not disclose the cost of its renovations. But the Cougars said in a statement that funding for the latest locker room renovation project came from the SAB Maintenance Endowment Fund, which was established before the Student Athlete Building was constructed in 2004, with interest earned on the allocation for maintenance and future improvements to the facility.

“This project is made possible by the generosity of so many great Cougar fans who, years ago, contributed to the construction of the Student Athlete Building and its endowment,” said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, in April when the project was announced. “The Cougar Nation’s tremendous support of BYU Athletics continues to bless the lives of our student-athletes. “

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