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Oklahoma State, Mike Gundy agree to new five-year deal

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At least contractually, the reported rift between Oklahoma State’s head football coach and its most prominent booster is a non-issue.

Late Tuesday morning, OSU announced that Mike Gundy has signed a new five-year contract to remain with the program.  The new deal replaces the old one that was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2019.

This latest contract, which the school states “provides for annual automatic rollovers,” is still subject to the approval of the university’s Board of Regents.

Gundy will be paid $4.2 million in the first year of the new deal, up from the $3.9 million he pulled in last year.  With Bob Stoops‘ retirement from Oklahoma and Charlie Strong‘s dismissal at Texas, it’s very likely that Gundy, with the new deal, will surpass TCU’s Gary Patterson as the highest-paid head coach in the Big 12.

As part of the annual rollover, Gundy’s salary will increase by $125,000 every year.

“I’m very pleased with the new contract because it reflects our mutual commitment and long-term vision to take our football program to an even higher level in the years to come,” said Gundy in a statement. “I appreciate the support and confidence of President Hargis and Coach Holder in me to continue to lead this program for many years to come.”

A former OSU quarterback, Gundy has been the Cowboys’ head coach since 2005 after spending the previous four seasons as his alma mater’s offensive coordinator.  He’s 104-50 in those dozen seasons, making him the winningest coach in the program’s history.

Eight times in the school’s history has the football team posted double-digit wins in a season; five of those occurred under Gundy, including each of the last two years.  After a 4-7 first year in 2005, the Cowboys have played in 11 straight bowl games.

OSU ATHLETIC DIRECTOR MIKE HOLDER
“Today is a good day for Oklahoma State football. The new contract recognizes Coach Gundy’s success at building and sustaining a premier college football program and reflects our appreciation and our long-term commitment to Coach Gundy. Not only is he one of the best coaches in the country, he also does things the right way.

“His players love playing for him because he is the consummate players’ coach. While I believe his achievements are often overlooked nationally, he’s certainly appreciated by those of us at Oklahoma State. We are excited about the future of our football program under the direction of Mike Gundy.”

OSU PRESIDENT BURNS HARGIS
“Coach Gundy loves his alma mater and is passionate about success both athletically and academically. He is a strong leader and motivator who gets the very best out of players, coaching colleagues and the organization.

“He runs the program the right way, graduates players and creates a positive culture built around responsibility and accountability. I am excited for the future of Oklahoma State football under the leadership of Coach Gundy.”

Missouri set to rent empty dorm rooms to fans for football weekends

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Homecoming could be taken to another level at Missouri this fall with a chance for Tigers fans to actually spend a weekend in their old dorm rooms.

As part of an effort to make up several budget shortfalls and adjust to dwindling freshman enrollment, Mizzou revealed plans this week to rent out unused dorm rooms in residence halls for football games and other campus events. The St. Louis Post Dispatch adds that the concept has been in the works for some time and a mind-boggling seven residence halls have been taken offline in the wake of a huge drop in the number of students following a number of serious issues at the Columbia campus.

Guests who want to bypass a local hotel for games and sign up for the opportunity will be able to grab a furnished, two-bedroom suite with four single beds for $120/night. Internet access, bed sheets and towels are included and you can even head on down to the campus cafeteria to boot in order to buy food. For those planning on tailgating before a big game, the Post Dispatch notes that the school is still discussing whether alcohol will be allowed in the rooms.

While the ability to stay in an actual dorm room is pretty unique when it comes to the SEC football experience at the school, the reason for even taking this step should raise eyebrows even further given the situation at Mizzou. Student protests rocked the campus two years ago and Columbia really hasn’t been the same since with declining enrollment dropping off sharply ever since to further add to the crisis at the university.

Though financial necessities may be forcing the Tigers to go this route with unused dorms, it will be interesting to see if other schools in less dire situations at least take a look at emulating the concept on a smaller scale for game days in the future. Several universities around the country already have on-campus hotels so taking the next step to Airbnb some dorms seems like it will be in the cards for a football Saturday soon enough.

Buffalo reportedly receives state approval for new $18 million football field house

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If it seems like every college football program has an indoor facility nowadays, that’s because it’s a statement that is pretty close to being true. Now it’s time to cross one of the few remaining FBS holdouts off the list of those without one as Buffalo has finally gotten a thumbs up to build one just across the street from the school’s football stadium.

Buffalo Business First reports that the state has given the green light to a nearly $18 million field house project and that the university could issue construction bids for the building as soon as next week.

The project will check off a lot of boxes for the athletic department and the football team in particular. It reportedly will result in a 90,000-square-foot facility that includes both a full turf field and a small track. The exact timeline still appears to be up in the air a bit but it seems as though the school will receive bids soon and then commence construction sometime in early 2018.

That’s welcome news for head coach Lance Leipold as the Bulls were the lone MAC school without an indoor facility as of 2017. Given the winters (and fall’s and spring’s…) in upstate New York, the addition of a place to practice and train away from the elements should be a boon for the program going forward.

Kansas planning $300 million stadium renovation and new indoor football facility

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No matter how good or bad your football team is nowadays, chances are high that your school is planning to upgrade football facilities in order to keep up with the burgeoning college athletics arms race.

Case in point lies in Lawrence, where Kansas is set to embark on a whopping $300 million renovation of Memorial Stadium that will also include an indoor practice facility. AD Sheahon Zenger disclosed the plans on Wednesday night while speaking at a booster function, according to the Kansas City Star.

“It will be something that will be just that next step in transcending our program to the next level,” Jayhawks head coach David Beaty reportedly said. “We really do have to keep up with the facility war that goes on out there.”

Memorial Stadium is one of the older stadiums in the Big 12, dating back to the 1921 opening of the site. While there have been a handful of updates in the past few years, there hasn’t really been much of a major renovation since 1998-99. Plans for the updated design and any additional features should be unveiled in September based on the timeline that Zenger disclosed.

No word on if Kansas is planning on adding any waterfalls to project just yet however.

Arkansas State stadium expansion includes pair of waterfalls

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The college athletics’ arms race of the past few decades has produced a number of unique designs when it comes to various stadiums and other football-centric facilities. Just about everybody is trying to hang their hat on something new and different to set themselves apart from the crowd and that ethos is seemingly creeping into just about every design element in any new building across the country.

Arkansas State appears to be the latest program to go in this direction and, based on new renderings of a north end zone project for Centennial Bank Stadium that were released on Thursday, the school is perfectly content to ignore TLC’s advice and start chasing actual waterfalls.

“This project will allow us to attract the top students in the country and provide first-class services to develop our students on and off the playing surfaces,” athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement on the school’s website for the project. “Additionally, we’ve created a unique feature to pay homage to the great state of Arkansas, the Natural State.”

This is far from the only water feature to be incorporated into a stadium in recent years (Jacksonville’s EverBank Field — home to the annual Florida-Georgia game — has a pool after all) but is a little bit outside the box for a smaller FBS school’s stadium. The two waterfalls are set to be placed on either side of the north end zone grandstand and include a new outdoor premium seating area as well. Also included in the project are a new weight room, a training/rehabilitation area, new football locker room, position meeting rooms, a players’ lounge, academic rooms and team-theater meeting area.

No cost breakdown or timeline were given but safe to say the former will involve millions of dollars and the latter will result in several years passing before the water is flowing in Jonesboro.