During his time at Iowa State, Jamie Pollard has made bringing Iowa State’s athletics facilities on par with the rest of the country one of his top priorities. Whether through the construction of the Bergstrom Football Complex, Sukup Basketball Facility or the new Tennis Performance Center, Pollard has always looked for the next best way to give Iowa State’s student-athletes an advantage.
Pollard, along with head football coach Matt Campbell, are starting to look ahead to another new step in the process of the school’s athletics facilities — a sports performance center.
“When we ask for something, my biggest thing is how does it impact and effect our kids. How does it give us a chance to continue to develop our players,” Campbell said during a Cyclone Tailgate Tour stop in Clear Lake. “The recruiting part is great. Everybody gets excited about recruiting. It’s one thing to recruit good players, but if you don’t develop them all that work goes to waste. This aspect of performance center, the biggest thing that I’ve put time and effort and energy into is nutrition. Having places for our kids to accessible, to feed them, to put them in position to be at maximum capacity when they either come in to workout, when the come in to practice and, certainly, when they come in to play. Being young enough, I’m a big fan of that and I’m a big believer in how you take care of your body week in, week out, day in and day out. That’s where it stemmed from Jamie and I.”
One of the biggest keys for this sports performance center would be improved nutrition access for not only Iowa State football, but all of the school’s athletics teams. According to a recent Des Moines Register story, Iowa State football’s nutrition budget increased from $884,372 in 2016 to $1,325,344 in 2017, but there’s more ways the process can be improved than just increasing the budget for meals, snacks and supplements.
“For us right now what we’re doing is adequate,” Pollard said during a Cyclone Tailgate Tour stop in Harlan. “It works, but it’s not probably the most efficient model, because we’re catering everything in every single day. We’ll have to figure that out as part of the football project. Whats the best way to deliver that? Is it best through campus or an outside vender? Where’s it located? Can people get to it? Can students get to it? Are there outside students that can have access to it? There’s just a lot of structural things that we’ve got to think through to make sure whatever we do is the right thing for the long term.”
This sports performance center could also open the doors for improved sports medicine access and even further recovery aid options for the school’s student athletes.
“The recover piece has really become something that you hear about and you visually see at a lot of places,” Pollard said. “It’s how you deliver it and then what else are you doing. When I say how you deliver it, what kind of nutrition are you providing them and how are you providing it. Also, just the whole sports science side of it. You think of the training room and whirlpool and things of that nature, but when you start thinking about sports medicine and where are the doctors performing their services and how efficient is that for the student athlete. That’s all a big part of our looking at that and some of that are projects that would take a private, public partnership. We just have to tread lightly until you get into the right spot.”
Pollard said they’ve only started on putting together what they’d like to see from a potential facility and haven’t started visiting other campuses to check out facilities already in exisistance. They don’t even have a clear idea of where they would like the building to be located at this point.
Today, an Iowa State sports performance center remains just a conceptual idea, but we might not be far off from seeing the Cyclones take another step forward in the college football facilities arms race.
“The financing piece, you’re trying to get your own finances in order of where they’re going to be and starting to talk on a real soft level to donors,” Pollard said. “But there isn’t anything visual to present yet, because we haven’t even gone through that process with campus, because I think we need to have a better sense of what do we want to do. Depending on where that is, how it impacts others on campus and so do we have those people with us in the process.”