Skip to main content

U of M: No truth to report of new $70 million football facility


A Thursday morning report by Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune suggested the University of Minnesota was planning to break ground in December on a privately funded $70 million football facility, but officials close to the project say there is no truth to the story.

Minnesota hockey legend Lou Nanne, who is also the chairman of a fundraising committee tasked with raising $190 million to improve athletic facilities at the U of M, says the report by Hartman is "totally inaccurate."

"I'm out of town and I read this morning the erroneous report that Sid Hartman wrote about having plans to break ground in December for a $70 million facility. That's totally irresponsible," Nanne said in an interview with 1500 ESPN. "There are no plans to break ground and the facility that we're looking at is not remotely close to 70 million [dollars]. We want to get that word out because that is just totally, totally incorrect."

Hartman wrote in his column that crews were going to break ground in December at a site near the Bierman Building on the U of M campus. The report said the new facility would include a modern indoor practice facility, coaching offices and other amenities for the Gopher football team.

Nanne says his group is still in the process of raising money.

"We're going through facilities plans that we're looking at. We have no plans to break ground. We're in the process of raising funds," he said. "We are making our calls and talking to potential donors and we are working very hard at that. We've had a number of different sketches of the facilities of what we're doing but $70 million is totally inaccurate."

On top of that, the report was refuted by U of M associate athletics director Chris Werle, who told the Pioneer Press that "a December groundbreaking is not realistic."

Gophers athletics director Norwood Teague hasn't commented on the issue.

The U of M recently used $1 million to renovate the Gibson-Nagurski complex, where football players currently practice. The indoor facility is small compared to other Big Ten university football facilities. At 12,000 square feet, the current setup pales in comparison to the Nebraska Cornhuskers' 81,200-square-foot facility.

The belief is that Minnesota needs to upgrade its facilities if it wants to remain competitive within the conference.

"Most of our Big Ten competitors are ahead of us," Teague said last July when unveiling a $190 million plan to improve the university's athletic facilities, as reported by the Pioneer Press. "Nebraska has done a phenomenal job, a real holistic upgrade of their facilities, as it relates to training table and academic facility and weight rooms. They're not far from us. Wisconsin is finishing up its student-athlete performance building. It is in the third phase and is going to be terrific.

"We need to get caught up."

Click here for a photo gallery of conceptual images of facility designs the Gophers released last summer.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.