In a question-and-answer session held on the program’s official website, as well as another on its Twitter account, Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley discussed a number of topics including how the recently-passed cost of attendance legislation will affect his program next season.
“The cost of attendance that passed is obviously an opportunity for us to do something that we’ve all talked about for our student-athletes for a number of years now. In essence, it increases the value of their scholarship. There’s going to be a financial impact for us, a little over a million dollars,” he explained via the school’s website.
“But it’s money well spent and certainly I think the new autonomy structure has allowed that to happen. It excites us that we had the flexibility to do something like that, and I’m sure there will be more changes in the future.”
The cost of attendance (COA) legislation will pay out the difference between what student-athletes earn via scholarship and the average of what it costs for a student at a school to attend it for a full academic year, including tuition and applicable fees, room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other expenses. On average, the gap is estimated at $3,500 per athlete, though each school’s COA is different and therefore the amount of money paid to each school’s athletes will vary.
Foley is not alone in estimating an expenditure of approximately $1 million for cost of attendance in 2015 with a number of athletic directors across the country projecting similar figures.
Other topics Foley discussed with the school’s website…
» On new head football coach Jim McElwain and his first Gators staff: “I’m very impressed with the staff that he has put together. I’m very impressed by how he did it, very thoughtful, very deliberate. He found pieces that fit, not only good coaches but good people and really good recruiters. … I think Mac’s got a plan and he is going to enact that plan thoughtfully and deliberately.”
» On finally deciding to build an indoor practice facility: “The fact of the matter is that with the renovation of the O’Connell Center, what was our backup no longer existed. So you have no backup, in essence you’re telling your football program that you’ve got no place to go. Obviously you could not do that. I think when you look at some of the weather changes, especially the heat early in the year, this facility is just going to enhance our program and give our coaches more options. We’re excited about doing it. I think there is an opinion that we were dragging our feet on it, and I can understand that and accept that, but you know everything done here is done for a reason, done with a purpose, done with some thought behind it, and at the end of the day, we built the facility not only because we thought it would enhance our football program, maybe enhance recruiting, but our backup was gone. You certainly can’t have a program of this magnitude and not have a backup for inclement weather.”
» On the struggling Florida basketball team: “My mother used to tell me that her father would go to the horse races and he always bet on the jockey, not the horse. I’ll bet on our jockey every single day. He’ll get this thing exactly the way he wants it, the way the university wants it, to what our fans expect. I don’t worry one second about that. He’s the best in the business and obviously we’re fortunate to have him.”
Topics Foley touched on during his Twitter question-and-answer session…
» Foley said no head coaching contract at Florida, including Will Muschamp’s, includes mitigation to reduce the amount of buyout owed if said coach is fired by the school.
» On whether Gators football will adopt “more modernized” uniforms: “Not at this time.”
» It has not been determined where the camera platforms will be placed in the redesigned Stephen C. O’Connell Center and whether Florida plans to move them across the arena to the alumni side in order to capture the Rowdy Reptiles during the entire game. “That is being discussed as part of the design,” he said.
» Bringing WiFi to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is “on the list for future improvements” but does not appear to be a likely addition for the 2015 season.
» There are no plans to allow fans to tour the new indoor practice facility, as it was something that the Gators had not considered yet, but Foley plans to “review” whether to allow fans to get a look at the facility after it is built.