With USF indoor facility coming, what about an on-campus football stadium?

Athletic director Michael Kelly believes in making it happen, but...
A rendering of what a football stadium at USF could look like.
A rendering of what a football stadium at USF could look like. [ Courtesy of USF ]
Published Feb. 24, 2021|Updated Feb. 24, 2021

Now that USF has announced its first phase of football renovations — $3 million in upgrades to the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center and a $22 million indoor practice facility — you can start wondering about the next ones.

What about an on-campus football stadium?

Related: USF football to start building indoor facility this summer

“An on-campus stadium is undoubtedly something that’s a wonderful thing and something that we have visions for,” athletic director Michael Kelly said Wednesday.

Just don’t expect those visions to materialize anytime soon.

Kelly has all the information he needs about the topic thanks to a 2018 feasibility study. A 35,000-seat stadium could cost upwards of $200 million but would likely increase student involvement and create a better atmosphere.

“I believe in it,” Kelly said. “But I also feel it’s my job to prioritize the steps by which we can move to that, both from an aspirational standpoint and a reality standpoint.”

In both ways, Kelly said an initial wave of renovations was necessary as a starting point for anything else. The Bulls needed to show progress to recruits, players, fans and boosters. Perhaps that progress creates better results, which can in turn lead to more donations and a bigger push for a new stadium.

In the meantime, Kelly is happy to talk up Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls get to play in a facility that hosted Super Bowl 55 earlier this month and is home to the reigning NFL champions.

Related: The 3 changes USF’s Jeff Scott made after Year 1 flop

“Not many folks can say that…” Kelly said. “We’ve got to remember to be grateful for what we have now, but that doesn’t mean we’re not aspirational for the future, when it all fits in right and frankly when we can raise the money to do it.”

Those days might come eventually, but they’re not here yet.