Today we had the honor of going to the newest Group of 5 member in FBS, the UNC-Charlotte 49ers. Previously an FCS and Atlantic 10 conference member, the 49ers have come a long way in the past five years. Athletic Director Judy Rose has spearheaded the charge and most notably arranged the UNCC jump into Division I football. She was the President of NACDA in 2003-2004 and has been a catalyst for the school’s renovations and expansions. Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to meet her, but we did get to see a lot of the work that she has put in regarding new facilities.
My Key Takeaways
Some key things that stood out to me was a lack of storage, builders not executing and clustering multiple weight rooms. These all have a similar theme I would say. I think it comes down to your identity. I didn’t really get a feel of what the school was trying to portray on the visit and because of that, there was some confusion.
- Lack of Storage
When we asked the Director of Athletic Facilities and Event Operations, Nic Ryan, if there was one thing he could wish for regarding the football facility, he said storage. There was a limited amount of space for a variety of things. The thing that caught my eye was that they still had their shoulder pads on top of their lockers (which made the locker room stink) and spring ball finished up weeks ago! If I was a recruit on a visit or even a donor coming by for a tour, it would have turned me off. Every other football locker room we went to this week (UNC and Duke) had it smelling great and their pads locked away for fall camp. The little things matter and I was surprised that they don’t have the attention to detail on that situation.
- Builders not executing
There were three examples of this today when our tour guides explained a problem concerning when a facility was being built and the repercussions because of it. The first issue was the rec and sport turf field that is used for intramurals and leisure has constant problems with the turf. The company that installed the turf did a below average job. They didn’t properly lay down the turf as a far gluing, they cut it diagonally and they only put three drain pipes underneath the field. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow, and the facilities department for campus rec has had numerous issues with the turf ever since. The company has to keep coming out to fix the issues and it all could have been resolved if the company installed it in a professional and class act manner the first time.
There were two other examples of this. One was when we went into the basketball arena (Halton Arena) and our tour guide talked about how when the company first built the roof, there was leakage which obviously had to be fixed. Then our other tour guide showed us the athletic training room at the football complex (Judy Rose Football Center) and they had a couple buckets catching water which was coming down from the ceiling.
To wrap this point up, it saddens me that the companies that came in and built these facilities and installed the turf, couldn’t have done a better job. They didn’t execute quite frankly and because of this, the 49ers have to reap the problems. It’s unfortunate but it was definitely a theme and I hope their new facility, which is a new rec center that will be built in 2019, will go a lot smoother and have no hiccups.
- The Cluster of Weight Rooms
Most universities at the Division I level have two to three weight rooms. They have a student-athlete weight room, a fitness center for students and for intramural participants, and a few schools have a weight room just designated for the football team. At the University of North Carolina- Charlotte, they have four weight rooms and by 2019, they will have an astounding five. It seems a little over the top to have that much and with the new rec center being built in a few years, it makes you scratch your head a little bit. There is not a lot of efficiency with having four small weight rooms right now. As many of my classmates discussed today, they should just have two really big weight rooms. One would be for the students and the other for the student-athletes. This random cluster of weight rooms is inefficient and could be put to better use- especially with a new fitness center coming around the corner.
–Student Reflection, Lance Dozier, Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Administration