Continuing the updates from Dr. Gross' live Q&A on syracuse.com today, let's look at what was said about the upcoming opening of the Indoor Athletic Facility (IAF) and the benefits for the Syracuse Orange.
"The indoor practice center is a game changer for us and allows us to be competitive in this area as many of our competitors have this type of building. We stack up well with our peers with the new weight room, locker room, interactive recruiting displays, cafeteria and lobby. We recently completed our new team theater and are working on the coaching offices wing and meeting rooms. Overall our facilities in football with the addition of the indoor center have been enhanced significantly and we believe gives us the full compliment of facilities to enable us to be competitive in the ACC."
We can save the ACC facilities comparison for a different time. Let's take a look at the three different groups who will benefit directly from the new facility.
As Coach Scott Shafer commented today during his media session, the IAF gives the football program something that Manley Field House could not a full field:
"It wasn't big enough to have a normal practice in," Shafer said. "You had to take turns offense, defense. You couldn't run dual scout teams at the same time.
Having the space as well as the ability to move up the schedule for Spring practice, which Shafer mentioned that SU will do this year, is an advantage for a team that is going to be implementing another new offensive system. It will also give the players the ability to do individual work that doesn't draw the attention of Public Safety officers. The Melo Center's 24/7 access has been beneficial to the basketball teams, so having a new facility should help the football program in a similar manner. I think we can also agree that it's a good thing that this facility didn't open while Shamarko Thomas was still on campus or else some commuter students would wonder why their cars had disappeared from the Manley parking lot.
2. Every other Syracuse team
While lacrosse and soccer were mentioned today as having access to the IAF for practices, the benefits of the new facility also trickles down to other teams. Instead of fighting for space and time inside Manley, having another practice space will help teams to be able to find better training opportunities. Instead of holding 6 AM or 10 PM workouts, teams will be able to use two facilities Access to the IAF will be especially helpful for the lacrosse teams as they now have a full field to practice in January, which doesn't require a transition of the Carrier Dome.
3. The Dome
Speaking of the Carrier Dome, the new facility also offers some benefits there. With a suitable indoor space available year-round, the Dome might be able to schedule more events without worrying about impacting Syracuse teams. The ability to allow a concert or major event access to the Dome could help generate additional revenue for the University, which could hopefully be used towards those Dome renovations being discussed.