Texas athletic director Mike Perrin defended the school’s $10-million football facility upgrades on Friday and acknowledged that today’s recruits know who has good facilities and who doesn’t.
School officials privately admit the UT football program had fallen behind its peers in terms of facilities. A construction crew has already gutted the locker room to make way for a state-of-the-art room equipped with cutting-edge lockers that cost $8,700 each.
As for the money being spent, Perrin said on 104.9 The Horn, “Yeah, it’s important and it does keep me up at night. But I’m realistic about the competition and what we’re up against around the country.
“It would be easy to dismiss the impact of other institutions perhaps in distant parts of the country if it weren’t for the cellphone and other means of communication,” Perrin added. “All of these youngsters look at each other on social media and look at what their universities have to offer.
“Not only is there the elevated competition for facilities and all that but a heightened awareness and a heightened knowledge by the athletes that you’re dealing with. They know and see and hear from their peers at other schools in other conferences what’s going on.”
Perrin said the football program was “somewhat behind” in social media. He praised the hires coach Tom Herman made to address the graphics and information sent to recruits.
Overall, Perrin said, “I thought it was a great spring. Tom really challenged the players early that this was going to be a hard spring physically. That he believes in real, physical toughness. I think we saw that in the offseason weight lifting and strength and conditioning and we saw it on the field with good, crisp blocking and tackling. I’m feeling real good about it.”
Also on Friday, Perrin left no doubt the school is moving forward with plans to build a new basketball arena on the parking lot south of the Mike A. Myers Stadium and Soccer Field. He said “engineering and legal work” will soon begin.
Perrin projected the new arena will hold 12,800 for basketball seating and possibly 14,000-15,000 for other events. The Erwin Center, which will be demolished to make way for Dell Medical School expansion, holds 16,540.
Speaking of basketball, Perrin said “yesterday was absolutely huge” for UT men’s coach Shaka Smart, who signed five-star big man Mohamed Bamba. “I’m very, very, very optimistic about basketball.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email [email protected].
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