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South Carolina’s new football operations building is really great

Just had to set up a little appreciation station here.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks are officially at home in their shiny new $50 million dollar Long Family Football Operations Center ahead of winter workouts, and let me just say — this is a damn fine facility.

I have to admit I had my doubts. South Carolina was already so far behind in the facility arms race that my reaction to the news of an ops building was more along the lines of “Well, yeah, finally” instead of genuine excitement. I also worried that USC wouldn’t be able to play catchup quickly enough, and that the facility would either look immediately outdated or just bland and uninteresting. My fears were seemingly confirmed when the initial renderings were released, because seriously, there isn’t much going on here:

Nothing about any of that is outright bad, per se, but none of it grabs the imagination, either. It just looks standard, and even a little sterile. There was also a disconcerting lack of discussion of any special amenities beyond a barbershop. Again, I was grateful this much-needed facility would finally exist, but I just couldn’t get that fired up about it when other programs already had such impressive structures.

But then move-in day arrived, and @GamecockFB put my mind at ease.

A recording studio. A dang recording studio!!

Some might say that’s gimmicky, but I would posit they just hate fun. It’s at least a unique gimmick, and a useful one at that since it can produce more #content for the team’s Twitter. I know we all love to roast Clemson’s slide — and by all means, we should continue to do so — but this is the objectively superior amenity and it’s not close. (And of course our main man Darius pitched in for it.)

Perhaps the most important amenity of all, though, is finally not forcing players to engage in real-life Frogger and cross Bluff Road to get to the practice fields. South Carolina can’t change the fact that Williams-Brice is off-campus, but it can transform the land around it, and it has done so to an incredible extent.

With every little edge mattering in the increasingly cutthroat world of recruiting, I have to assume the Gamecocks helped themselves a lot here. Well done.