Jaw-Dropping Upgrades to the college football locker rooms!

It’s no secret that big-time college football teams generate substantial revenue for their schools. A portion of these funds is being invested in state-of-the-art facilities, transforming them into luxurious spaces that resemble high-end resorts.

Of the 1,062 colleges and universities with varsity athletic teams under the NCAA, only 396 made at least $10 million from their sports teams in 2022, according to the most recent data from the Department of Education. Even more striking, only 56 schools made at least $100 million, a mere 5% of the total.

At the schools raking in the most money, men’s and women’s basketball teams often turn a profit, but the lion’s share of revenue typically comes from football. Consequently, this revenue is frequently reinvested into the football program, creating swanky facilities that appeal to prospective recruits.

When the University of Texas renovated its locker room, former head coach Tom Herman highlighted the link between high-end facilities and recruiting. “This locker room shows we have the very best tools in the country,” Herman said. “The lockers affect recruiting because the kids we’re recruiting are the same ones that some of the best schools in the nation are recruiting. A scholarship is a scholarship, no matter where you go. It’s about how you differentiate yourself.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the opulent locker rooms that have been built in recent years at top college football programs:

University of Texas

In 2019, the University of Texas spent $10 million renovating its athletic center, with $7 million dedicated to the football locker room alone. The centerpiece of this upgrade was custom-designed lockers, costing around $8,700 each, made by Longhorn Lockers, a company that has also outfitted other top programs like Clemson, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, and Stanford. The stainless steel lockers feature anti-bacterial properties and odor reduction, with each locker boasting its 37-inch television.

University of Florida

The new football facility at the University of Florida also features lockers designed by Longhorn Lockers. Dubbed the “Mercedes Benz of lockers,” these include reclining chairs that position players in a “zero-gravity” stance, reducing joint pressure. The lockers prominently display the Michael Jordan “Jumpman” logo, reflecting the team’s endorsement by Nike’s Jordan Brand.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University renovated its football locker room in 2023 as part of a $300 million project to enhance athletic facilities. Designed by Nashville-based Advent, the upgrade has significantly impacted recruiting, according to head coach James Franklin. “I know it has had an impact on recruiting because now we take young men and their families into that locker room,” Franklin said. “Right away, you can see their body language, you can see their faces, they start taking pictures.”

Clemson University

Clemson’s football facility, designed by HOK (now Populous), includes lockers that resemble thrones, reflecting the Tigers’ championship status. The facility features unique elements like a hill that mimics the one at Memorial Stadium, complete with a replica of Howard’s Rock, and a slide for easy access to the first floor. Other amenities include bowling lanes, a basketball court, a putting green, a putt-putt golf course, and a whiffle ball field.

The Ohio State University and the University of Georgia

The Ohio State University incorporated a $42 million renovation project into its football facilities, while Georgia unveiled a new locker room in 2023 as part of an $80 million expansion. Georgia’s upgrades include a barber shop, a dining lounge resembling a sports bar, and several hydrotherapy pools.

Texas A&M University

In 2013, Texas A&M raised a record-breaking $740 million, a feat attributed to the football team’s success and media attention around Johnny Manziel. The school invested $500 million over the following years into renovating Kyle Field and upgrading the football complex, including $21 million for the locker room and adjacent facilities.

While only 1.6% of college football players advance to the NFL, the top programs aim to boost this rate, showcasing their success in turning players into professional athletes through impressive locker room displays.

These lavish locker rooms and facilities not only elevate the experience for current players but also play a crucial role in attracting top talent, setting the stage for future success both on and off the field.