University of South Florida venue plans

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University of South Florida new stadium update Image: USF

Leadership from the University of South Florida (USF) (US) provided the USF Board of Trustees with its first update on plans to build an on-campus football stadium since Chair Will Weatherford announced his vision for moving ahead with the transformational project in September 2021.

The ‘University of South Florida’ stated that Michael Kelly, Vice-President of Athletics, and Jay Stroman, Senior Vice-President of Advancement and Alumni Affairs and CEO of the USF Foundation, briefed trustees on their efforts to create an actionable plan that brings the concept of a stadium to reality.

The University of South Florida is a public research university with its main campus located in Tampa, Florida (US), and other campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota. It is one of 12 members of the State University System of Florida.

The University of South Florida has formed a Campus Stadium Planning Committee led by Kelly and Stroman, which will continue to meet regularly. Four subcommittees have also been formed, each with different responsibilities, including identifying the scope and budget for an on-campus stadium, building a revenue and financing model, creating a communications and marketing plan, and coordinating related legal issues.

The subcommittees have been meeting bi-monthly and have started conducting focus groups that consist of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community leaders – many of whom have expressed excitement for the project.

One of the committee’s initial steps has been to review and refresh the on-campus stadium feasibility study completed in 2018 to assess the scope, cost and location of a new facility.

The committee is evaluating five possible locations:

  • Southwest corner of campus near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Fowler Avenue;
  • Intramural fields near Juniper-Poplar residence hall;
  • Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) site;
  • Fowler Fields, located next to the Patel Center for Global Solutions; and
  • Sycamore Fields, near the USF Athletics district.

The ‘University of South Florida’ further stated that four of the sites were identified in the feasibility study, and a fifth is Sycamore Fields, which is currently used for intramural sports and sits in close proximity to the USF Athletics district.

As part of President Rhea Law’s annual goals, which were approved by the Board of Trustees, she has committed to make advancements on the project by June 30th, 2022.

Weatherford said he’s been impressed by the activity thus far and highlighted why he believes the project will have an impact far beyond athletics – “The idea behind an on-campus stadium is bigger than football. Certainly, it will have an impact on the football program and building there. In all truth, the stadium is about building an on-campus experience. It’s about the students. It’s about giving the alumni another reason to come back and experience campus once again with their kids and grandkids and a central location to have incredible memories that are made and remind people why USF is so great.”

Another important issue under discussion is when a new stadium will open. While there are a number of variables to consider, Kelly told trustees that the 2026 football season is a consideration, but the start of the 2027 season may be a more realistic timeline.

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