Athletic facilities: Are they becoming the main factor in all recruiting decisions?

Cody FTWBy Cody Soto
Sports Writer

The past five years in Baylor athletics have completely changed the way the university is viewed by the entire country. Ask a Baylor fan who attended games 10 years ago what they saw, and the response would not be very pleasing.

With dynamic athletes such as Robert Griffin III and Brittney Griner making headlines a few years ago, Baylor University was put on the map.

In a span of two years, McLane Stadium was built on the Brazos River, the Hurd Tennis Center was resurfaced for the Big 12 and NCAA Championships this spring, and two more facilities are on the way. A new soccer complex, a state-of-the-art nutrition center for student-athletes, the list goes on.

These student-athletes are getting the cream of the crop when they play for Baylor. Not only are they a part of winning teams, but they get to practice and perform in some of the best facilities in the entire country.

That is a huge recruiting tool for the Baylor athletics staff. Who wouldn’t want to play in a $266 million stadium? Ever since the Palace on the Brazos opened last fall, recruits have flooded campus to see what the football program has to offer. Anywhere you look during a football game, there’s a visitor.

This is a great idea: Use the resources you have in order to attract other students to Baylor. Recruits are able to tour the facilities and get a feeling of what it’s like to be a student-athlete in Waco. People are flocking to Baylor now more than ever, and with the recent successes of the football and basketball programs, that will not be going away anytime soon.

The athletic teams, specifically the football and women’s basketball programs, are getting highly recruited athletes from all over the nation. They want to be a part of a winning program that play in top-notch facilities.

The facilities could be a major factor in deciding which college the recruit wants to go to. As much as we like to say that we live in a humble nation, our superficial thought process has us looking at the surface level. Baylor will have a huge advantage over many athletic programs because it has facilities that look outstanding.

As good as this sounds, it can also create a hegemony for one program over others. Hegemony may not always be a bad thing, but when it involves the absolute dominance of one team over every other one, that’s when the problem occurs.

Great facilities will cause many athletes to flood to them, so what will happen to schools who don’t have jaw-dropping athletic facilities? All top notch athletes will most likely not want to compete for certain schools if their practice and game facilities aren’t competent or up to their standard.

This could unequivocally create powerhouse programs that run over other schools. As much as people watch to see these teams destroy other teams, it will get old after a while. Look at Alabama. That school won the 2012 and 2013 national championships.

Alabama’s athletes have beat up on many different schools in the process, and when you can predict who is going to win every time, it takes the fun out of sports. If schools create facilities that make athletes feel like kings and queens, then the athletes’ reasons for playing could switch.

Brand new or newly renovated athletic facilities can really help advance an athletic team, but the school has to be careful. Athletes can develop cocky attitudes when they think they have it all. Baylor strives to develop hard working, humble student-athletes who play for their team and God, and that’s what needs to happen at every school.

Baylor’s athletic facilities undoubtedly provide prospective athletes with incentive to attend the school, and with the right message, they can bring athletes who want to succeed and keep their morals in the process. It’s up to the athlete to value these facilities, not worship them.