For the longest time, there has been a question among the USF Bulls football fans. That question is “When will we have an On-Campus Stadium?” The Bulls currently play at Raymond James Stadium that also hosts the NFL franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers. USF has played at Raymond James since the team started in 1997. I had the chance of interviewing USF athletic director Michael Kelly on the Bulls-Eye Podcast. I asked him what the status was on an on-campus stadium at that time he told me that it was not in the committee cards. This was on the heels of them getting the funds to build a brand new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility for the football team. Since that interview, it has changed and as of now, the on-campus stadium might be a reality. USF is currently looking for possible sites to build the stadium.
One of the biggest reasons that the fan base is calling for an on-campus stadium is because Raymond James is quite a drive for the USF campus. It’s a 10.5-mile drive that could take half an hour depending on traffic. It would be easier for the students who normally tailgate before the game. Most of us do not like people drinking and driving and an on-campus stadium would cut that out. I am not saying it would totally because the fans that are not students would still do it. On the other hand, I think playing in a pro stadium benefits the program. I think it’s a major factor in recruiting. Telling kids, they get a shot at playing in an NFL stadium that maybe could be their home if they make it to the NFL. But a brand new on-campus stadium could be as well.
The site that USF is looking at is right behind the practice fields. That would make the best sense. Most of the other playing fields that are used by the other athletic teams are on-campus and most are within walking distance. The program needs to get back on track. The goal for current head coach Jeff Scott was to get the fans back to attending games. Maybe a new stadium will do that. The site is called Sycamore Fields currently, which the USF Rugby team uses for their matches. According to Michael Kelly, this would be the best spot for the stadium. It has everything that is needed. It would be a change for many including me. I’ve had the honor of covering USF football since 2018. We know that it would probably take a year or two for the stadium to be built.
I think that if the stadium is approved then it will be a big step for the USF football program. The new indoor practice facility will be right next to the stadium as well. Coach Scott has some tools he can use to get this program back on track. There have been some dark days and maybe the light at the end of the tunnel is finally here. The cost of the new stadium is between $250 and $400 million dollars. The committee got word that there is already five million that has been donated for the new stadium. The donators are Frank and Carol Morsanis who have been watching USF football for 25 years. They said they were proud to be the first to donate to the process. All we can do now is sit back and see what happens, but it would be cool to see a new stadium for the USF Bulls.
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