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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)


NEW YORK - Penn State rolled out the facility master plan last winter in what was expected to be the roadmap for the future of Penn State's facilities.

Despite various venues on campus under construction, some upgrades already made to the Lasch football building and fundraising efforts well under way, Penn State still isn't up to speed in terms of their Big Ten foes, football coach James Franklin said.

"We've done some pretty significant studies and when it comes to football specific spending on facilities we're way behind," Franklin said Tuesday during the first of three coaches caravan stops this week. "We're probably 13 out of 14 in the Big Ten, which would probably surprise you. We're probably ahead of Rutgers and that's it - when you talk about facilities over the last eight years. The hard part is there's probably a 10-year period where we weren't doing what we needed to do year in and year out so we're trying to play catch up."

Some of the changes that have been made in the football building have been minor upgrades while others, such as overhauling the locker room - which has happened during Franklin's tenure - were necessary upgrades. Franklin added there's carpet in the football building that's 20 years old, and of course across the street there's Beaver Stadium, which is a large part of the facility master plan. However, no major renovations will happen with the stadium until funds are raised and Penn State has a clearer picture of which projects are priorities.

"We know the work we have to do, we just need to raise more money," athletic director Sandy Barbour said.

That's where winning helps, too. While attendance in college football stadiums across the county dipped as the lure of watching games at home rises, Penn State was able to buck that trend. Barbour said the engagement with the athletic department and the close-knit community is part of that and so too is the football team's back-to-back 11-win seasons.

While one part of the annual coaches caravan is mingling with fans at every stop, the other part is the yearlong continuation of meeting with donors, potential donors and program supporters who all can help Penn State inch closer to these facility goals. But, the study Franklin cited wasn't just about carpeting, doors and cosmetic upgrades within the building.

Making sure Penn State's coaching salaries for the assistants are competitive - enough so it's feasible to keep as much of the staff intact as possible - is also part of that capital spending he referenced. Franklin stated the need to make sure Penn State's assistants had competitive salaries since his arrival and referenced that again Tuesday.

"We made tremendous progress in a short period of time," he said. "But, we've got to go and I knew we had to go and we have a process in stages about how we're going to work at it, but now after getting done this deep dive on research and seeing clearly where we are over a three-year, five-year, eight-year period of time in all these different areas, salaries, facilities, all these different things we've got some work to do."

The postPenn State football 'trying to play catch up' with ongoing facility upgrades appeared first onLand of 10.

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