Bruce Pearl prioritizes NIL funding over new Auburn hoops facility

Opelika, Alabama – Bruce Pearl He has his priorities in order.

In early February, Auburn approved a new, free-standing training facility within the Neville Arena for Pearl’s basketball program. No official price has been set for the promotions, which, with the approval of the Auburn Board of Trustees, “It will build a second gymnasium and renovate existing team support spaces, which will allow both men’s and women’s basketball programs to conduct practices at times that are beneficial to student-athletes and bring their facilities to Southeastern Conference’s competitive standards. “

The Board of Directors approved Goodwin Mills Caywood as the preferred engineer at the next meeting. The project, like most Auburn athletics, must receive its funding from donors: “It is expected that this facility will be funded through gift and bond funds, with the bond debt service paid for by the athletics department’s funds.”

However, there is still no timeline for the show’s completion, and the current search for a sporting director for the sports division may set things back a bit.

But that is not Perle’s focus now as to where his program money should go.

“This is what we have to do: We have to take care of the NIL space first — in all sports,” Pearl said Monday during a conversation with a few reporters before fundraising for Bruce, Barkley and Basketball at Opelika. “First of all, this should be one of our commitments and goals.”

Auburn’s men’s and women’s collars currently share one gym, adjacent to the main floor, giving both teams basketball courts to practice on. Neville Arena is the home court for the university’s four major sports, and visiting teams in those sports are offered practice time in the arena as well.

It is certainly not at the top level in terms of facility privileges in the SEC. But it didn’t affect Auburn’s success under Pearl: three SEC titles, three NCAA Championship appearances, a Final Four, a #1 program rankings, and four first-round picks over the past five seasons.

“We won the training facility share with the volleyball team, women’s basketball and gymnastics team,” Pearl said. “That doesn’t go to win. Would I like a better learning space? Would it be easier for our student-athletes to be able to, you know, not have to share time with everyone? We make it work.”

Ahead of the 2019-20 season, Auburn spent $3 million to upgrade the men’s and women’s locker rooms, adding additional meeting space and a “team lounge area”. Ahead of the 2020-21 season, the Sports Division purchased and installed a new Daktronics scoreboard, featuring a 72-foot, wraparound LED video display. The price of the project has not been publicly disclosed.

Renamed during last season’s SEC Championship, the Auburn home gym opened 12 years ago, officially replacing the Beard-Eaves Coliseum, where the Tigers have played since 1969, prior to the 2010-11 season.

The $86 million venue is the smallest by capacity on the Securities and Exchange Commission, but over the past five or six years, it has earned a reputation as one of the toughest and highest-grossing places to play college basketball. It’s clear that Pearl’s success on the program is directly linked to the energy in the Auburn Home Games, where he has set a record 122-44 since the start of the 2017-18 season.

However, a modern facility to pair with an unbeatable home floor feature has been on Pearl’s wish list for a few years. But he knows that strong NIL funding — like the new On To Victory group, which aims to be Auburn’s leading NIL and exceed its first-year goals in less than two months — is more critical to success right now.

“When we do it, we’re going to do it right,” Pearl said. “When we do that, we’ll do it right. But we have a few other things to take care of before we take care of the training facility.”

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