USF trustees list on-campus stadium as a priority for interim president

Moving the facility closer to reality is one of nine proposed goals for Rhea Law during her remaining time in the post.
A consultant's rendering of what a football stadium at the University of South Florida could look like. [Courtesy of USF]
A consultant's rendering of what a football stadium at the University of South Florida could look like. [Courtesy of USF] [ Courtesy of USF ]
Published Nov. 16, 2021

Members of the University of South Florida’s board of trustees underscored their desire to build an on-campus football stadium Tuesday by urging interim president Rhea Law to make progress on the project in the short time she has left.

That goal was among several criteria the board will use to evaluate Law, who became interim president in August and will remain in the role until a permanent president is selected. The university anticipates having a candidate by spring.

According to Law’s contract, up to $275,000 of her salary is dependent on an annual evaluation. The criteria ideally would be more granular, said board chairperson Will Weatherford. But given the short span of time Law will spend in the job, he said he hoped to see progress toward nine goals.

USF interim president Rhea Law
USF interim president Rhea Law [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

In addition to working toward a stadium, the list included creating “a glide path” for the next president, reworking a budgeting process that faculty raised concerns about last year, working on external relations and finding a “thoughtful” and “environmentally sensitive” resolution for the university’s forest preserve property, which recently became a source of concern when the university issued a call for developers.

Weatherford raised the stadium issue in September, saying publicly it would be a priority during his time as board chairperson.

During a presentation Tuesday to the trustees’ governance committee, Weatherford presented a slide that said Law will be responsible for reviewing and revising the Football Stadium Conceptual Planning study commissioned from Beck Group in 2017 and identifying potential sites and funding strategies. Listing it as a goal was a way of “making sure we’re making progress on that and moving the ball forward on that,” Weatherford said.

Board member John Ramil said, given the short time, he hoped they could be flexible in evaluating Law on some of the criteria.

“I thought that president Law would have the football stadium constructed by the end of the year,” Weatherford joked.

“You can only expect what you inspect,” Law said. She said she hopes to have more accomplished toward each goal by the end of her term.

The governance committee will present the goals for approval to the full board of trustees next month.