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Eighteen months in, no shovel sightings for USF Football Center

But the school has reached nearly half of its $40 million goal
USF athletic director Michael Kelly said the school's goal is to have $20 million in committed money for the USF Football Center by June 30. [BRONTE WITTPEN | Times]
USF athletic director Michael Kelly said the school's goal is to have $20 million in committed money for the USF Football Center by June 30. [BRONTE WITTPEN | Times]
Published May 7, 2019

At the risk of disrupting all the USF logo hubbub, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Thursday is an anniversary of sorts for the Bulls.

Eighteen months ago ― Nov. 9, 2017 ― the athletic department formally announced plans for the USF Football Center.

When it formally announces a ground-breaking remains anyone’s guess.

On Monday, athletic director Michael Kelly said the school has received $18.4 million in commitments for the center, roughly $7 million more than it had only seven months ago, but still less than half of its projected $40 million cost.

The goal is to reach $20 million by June 30, the end of USF’s fiscal year.

Related: USF unveils plans for $40 million football complex on campus

“Fundraising’s the key,” Kelly said on a recent USF-produced podcast. “We’re not gonna be able to start building until we raise the dollars...but we’ve got good momentum going on.”

The center remains the department’s top fundraising priority. When ― or if ― it comes to fruition depends on whom you ask.

But administrators continue betraying optimism and excitement. Among them: Lelo Prado, whose return to the school last September (as deputy AD for development) has helped buoy USF’s fundraising efforts.

“We’ve got to raise that money, there’s no other option,” Prado said on the same podcast.

“If we’re gonna be a big-time program, if we’re gonna have a shot next time to (get in) a Power Five conference, we’ve got to have all the things in place ready to go.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.