Naming rights to Iowa football buildings approved

Iowa's economic realities and sense of self need a balance

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April 1, 2014 | 9:30 am

I've never wanted to be the guy who chains himself to the monument that's been condemned. And so, yes, the Hayden Fry Football Complex is still there at the University of Iowa, you just don't see it anywhere (except the internet).

The Board of Regents on Wednesday approved the UI’s requests to name the Iowa football program’s operations building the “Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building” and the combined Jacobson Football Operations Building and the indoor practice facility the “Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center.”

UI athletics wanted to recognize their financial gifts that helped pay the bills for the new construction.

The Hansens -- Stew owned or owns car dealerships in Des Moines -- contributed $8 million to football and made a "very generous gift" to recently completed Carver-Hawkeye Arena additions. Jacobson has been a long-time contributor to Iowa athletics. His name was on the building that this new building is replacing.

So is Hayden Fry's. Iowa confirmed Thursday that it does remain the Hayden Fry Football Complex. All of it.

CLARIFICATION: The whole football industrial complex at the University of Iowa does remain the Hayden Fry Football Complex.

So, I was wrong and hasty in saying Fry's name is no longer attached. It is, even though there is no signage and it exists only (as far as anyone knows) via the internet link below.

According to the Iowa site -- and I've had this pointed out to me by the athletic department -- "The Hayden Fry Football Complex includes legendary Kinnick Stadium, the game day home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Richard O. Jacobson Athletic Building, the Ronald and Margaret Kenyon Football Practice Facility, the Indoor Practice Facility - Iowa's "Bubble" - and the Iowa Football Office Complex."

That's the old link. Certainly, the Fry Football Complex also will include the Stew and Lenore Hansen Football Performance Center. Certainly, it will be updated at some point.

So, if you're keeping score, it's the Hayden Fry Football Complex and it houses Kinnick Stadium, the Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building, the Ronald and Margaret Kenyon Football Practice Facility and the Stew and Lenore Hansen Football Performance Center.

There is no word on signage. That would be a really long sign, but as stated yesterday, Iowa isn't Michigan and lives in the world of signage (it pays the bills).

So, Fry is still a part of this. There is no physical presence, but there is that link. His name seems to be the first one, so there's that. Naming honors on top of naming rights on top of and so on.

(By the way, the Fry Complex wasn't written anywhere on yesterday's release. That would've helped avoid the confusion here.)

The trend is this: Bills have to be paid. Let's not be ingenues here. "Mediacom" never coached a game at Iowa, but the Carver-Hawkeye Arena court is named "Mediacom Court." And from today's release, "The Jacobson Football Operations Building will be attached to the indoor practice facility which rests immediately south of the Ron and Margaret Kenyon Outdoor Practice Facility." And "With its close proximity to Kinnick Stadium, the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center -- inclusive of the Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building -- will complete one of the most comprehensive football training and competition venues in all of college football."

In conversations with Iowa people in the past, no, Kinnick Stadium is not up for grabs.

The total cost of Iowa's newest facilities is $55 million. In '12, Iowa athletics director Gary Barta has said the department raised $20 million in private funds for the project with a fundraising goal of $35 million. The other $20 million would come from a short-term loan paid from department funds. Barta said then the department has no plans to sell bonds for the project.

Beyond that, Iowa announced that naming rights for everything from the major-league “football performance center” to the players’ lockers were for sale.

That wasn't new for Iowa. When Iowa renovated Kinnick Stadium in ’06, it offered a multitude of opportunities for naming rights.

Here’s a list of what exactly was for sale, and the price tags, at the time:

Football Performance Center — $10 million

Iowa football operations building — $5 million (reserved)

Indoor practice facility — $5 million

Iowa football legacy hall — $4 million

Head coach’s suite — $3 million

Consensus all-America room — $2 million (reserved)

Weight training facility — $2 million (reserved)

Locker room — $2 million

Team meeting room — $1.5 million (reserved)

Offensive and defensive coordinators’ offices (2) — $1 million

Offensive coaching staff conference room — $750,000

Defensive coaching staff conference room — $750,000

Equipment room — $500,000

Training room — $500,000

Iowa football student-athlete lounge — $500,000

Coaches’ locker room — $250,000

Assistant coaches’ offices (9) — $250,000 (two reserved)

Position meetings rooms (9) — $100,000 (three reserved)

Speed and agility training area — $100,000

Football administrative offices (5) — $50,000

Graduate assistant coaches office — $50,000

Lifting station in weightroom (20) — $25,000

Assistant coaches locker — $25,000

Student-athlete locker (120) — $10,000

Plaque recognition — $5,000

The arms race has a financial demand. Iowa fell behind. Kirk Ferentz and players gave the old "Bubble" kind words, but it wasn't fit for a Big Ten football team. Iowa had catching up to do.

“You look outside and what we’re doing facility-wise,” Ferentz said. “We were probably five years behind, quite frankly. Maybe we fell asleep at the wheel with that one.”

Iowa has woken up and caught up.

From today's release: "The Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building is currently under construction with completion expected in late summer. The 76,000-square foot facility will help guarantee an exceptional experience for the student-athletes who participate in Iowa’s football program.  It will include an exhibit space dedicated to the history and success of the Hawkeyes, a room which will honor Iowa’s consensus All-Americans that also will serve as a location for team activities, hospitality, and special events, a strength and conditioning area, team locker rooms, team meeting rooms, state-of-the-art technology for training, coaching, and recruiting, office space for the coaching and support staffs, an equipment room, and athletic training rooms."

Fry won't be forgotten. How could he be? Change is jarring. Your connection to the program might've started with Fry and probably not the people with their names on things.

Iowa isn't Michigan, where the 109,901 capacity football stadium can afford to go without signage. Money makes the buildings go up. The trick now is to find the balance between selling your program the proper way and maintaining a sense of self.

Iowa is Iowa largely because of Fry. Iowa knows this and can't to forget it.

Here's the release from UI sports info:

REGENTS APPROVE NAMING OF UI FOOTBALL FACILITIES

UI recognizes Stew and LeNore Hansen and Richard O. Jacobson for their generous support of the Iowa Football Legacy Campaign

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Board of Regents, State of Iowa today approved the University of Iowa’s requests to name the Iowa football program’s operations building the “Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building” and the combined Jacobson Football Operations Building and the indoor practice facility the “Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center” in recognition of their financial gifts to support of the construction of the new facilities at the UI.

Members of the UI Foundation’s Presidents Club, the Hansen’s are loyal contributors to the University of Iowa and have been season ticket holders for more than 25 years. In addition to their extraordinary gift of $8 million to the Iowa Football Legacy Campaign, the Hansen’s made a very generous gift to the recently-completed Carver-Hawkeye Arena Enhancement Campaign.

“The friendship we have developed with Stew and LeNore has been very special to Kirk, me, and many staff members within the athletics department,” said UI director of athletics Gary Barta.  “To be able to name these new facilities after the Hansen’s is extremely gratifying and will have a powerful and lasting impact on the football program.”

“We are honored to become a part of the University of Iowa campus through the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center,” said Stew Hansen.  “This ‘state-of-the-art’ facility will greatly enhance the already well-established football program and provide extraordinary benefits for the Hawkeyes both now and in the future.”

Jacobson is the chairman emeritus of the Jacobson Companies, an ardent supporter of the University of Iowa, the UI Henry B. Tippie School of Business, and the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. In 1995, Jacobson made a substantial gift for the construction of the Jacobson Athletic Building. In 2007, he contributed $3 million to the Tippie School of Business to establish the Richard O. Jacobson Institute for Youth Entrepreneurship.  In 2000, the UI Alumni Association presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award.

“For more than 40 years, Dick has been a loyal and generous friend of the Iowa Hawkeyes,” said Barta.  “He and Bruce Rastetter were the first two individuals to provide leadership and vision on this project that will help ensure that our football program continues to have state-of-the-art training facilities.”

“I am extremely proud to be an Iowan, and I have a deep appreciation and admiration for our state. This state has been very good to me.  I enjoy giving back to the place where I grew up.” said Jacobson.  “I also have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to support all of our Regent institutions.  I believe strongly in what they do and how they do it.”

The Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building is currently under construction with completion expected in late summer. The 76,000-square foot facility will help guarantee an exceptional experience for the student-athletes who participate in Iowa’s football program.  It will include an exhibit space dedicated to the history and success of the Hawkeyes, a room which will honor Iowa’s consensus All-Americans that also will serve as a location for team activities, hospitality, and special events, a strength and conditioning area, team locker rooms, team meeting rooms, state-of-the-art technology for training, coaching, and recruiting, office space for the coaching and support staffs, an equipment room, and athletic training rooms.

The Jacobson Football Operations Building will be attached to the indoor practice facility which rests immediately south of the Ron and Margaret Kenyon Outdoor Practice Facility.

When completed, the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center will contain all aspects of the Iowa football program -- including team areas, coaching and meeting areas, and indoor practice field -- will be physically connected and easily accessed. With its close proximity to Kinnick Stadium, the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center -- inclusive of the Richard O. Jacobson Football Operations Building -- will complete one of the most comprehensive football training and competition venues in all of college football.

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