University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley joined ESPN Gainesville’s Steve Russell on Sportscene Wednesday to talk Gator sports. Listeners called and emailed in questions to ask Foley, and he spoke on a wide variety of topics. Some of the most consistent talking points brought up were about improvements to athletic facilities, football’s schedule and SEC meetings. Foley was even asked to discuss the sweetest championship he had ever been a part of at UF. He says that every single one is special because he knows how hard the athletes work. A lot of points were made and Foley was very informative about visions for future athletic plans.
Improvements to Facilities
A hot topic on the show was the question, “What is in store for some of the athletic facilities in the future?” So what’s thought to be next after the O’Dome renovations? Foley says they will probably focus on three areas next. Those areas being football, softball and baseball, but what they can do and when it gets done, will have to depend on fund raising and timing. To Foley, football is at the top of the list of improvements to add what the Athletic Association feels Coach McElwain needs. He says some of the improvements for football in discussion are the locker room, weight room, and team rooms. The athletic department is in communication with architects about looking into making changes in the size of the softball dugouts, and to add potential offices while looking at improvements that are able to be made for baseball and comparing them to what other schools have done. But he doesn’t think there will be room to add some sort of roof or shelter to the baseball field. Lastly, he says need is the most important. One listener asked if there would be changes to the video boards, and Foley responded by saying that wasn’t a need because the ones at Ben Hill Griffin work just fine.
Next week SEC meetings will be held in Destin. Foley talked about what he thought would be the most important topics that will be brought up. Athlete time management and commitment were two topics he thought would be big. But he doesn’t think that’s a problem at UF. Foley says he meet with high profile athletes and not a lot complain; the athletes want the time to get better. He does think that there will be some changes for off days in the off season for athletes discussed in the meetings but all 21 Gator sports are different and need different time commitments. He also mentions that satellite camps may come up in conversation a lot.
Lastly, there was discussion about potential changes to the football schedule. One caller asked, “With Richt now being at Miami, do you see UF playing them every year?” Foley responded by saying that would be too much for the players and that the FSU rivalry game is too much of a priority. Having Miami on the schedule every year was a consistently asked question, but as of now it does not seem to be in the plans. What is in the plans is to play Miami at a neutral site in Orlando in 2019. Also, Foley discussed the possibilities of having two open dates to play every year. He would be really interested to see the season expanded to benefit all of the programs in America.
Foley was appreciative of the callers and of the questions that were asked and he is hopeful his teams will win more championships before this athletic season is over.