TSA Seeks 15-year Extension With USF
TAMPA - If the University of South Florida wants preferential scheduling at Raymond James Stadium, the Bulls may have to commit to a long-term agreement with the Tampa Sports Authority. The initial term sheet from TSA to USF indicates that TSA is seeking a 15-year extension on USF's current deal, which expires in 2011, through 2026. It also eliminates USF's option to terminate the contract with a two-year notice, as allowed in the current lease, if the school wants to build an on-campus stadium. ''We're certainly considering that as an option,'' USF athletic director Doug Woolard said today. Woolard added there is no timetable on completing a new agreement with TSA, but ''the sooner, the better.''The proposal would give USF ''the preferential right to schedule USF football games in the Stadium during each Thursday, Friday and Saturday during the calendar months of September, October, November and the first week of December.'' While this initial term sheet is likely the first of several different proposals between TSA and USF, it would not allow Raymond James Stadium to host the Atlantic Coast Conference championship or any other non-Tampa Bay Bucs events at the stadium on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays from September to the first week of December without USF's approval. But it also would prohibit the Bulls from leaving for an on-campus stadium before 2026. Woolard has said previously the University of Minnesota's new on-campus stadium is an example of what type of stadium USF would want if it built one. Minnesota's 50,000-seat stadium, scheduled to open in 2009, costs $288 million. TSA executive director Henry Saavedra was not immediately available for comment. On Monday, the TSA created a committee to resolve scheduling conflicts between USF and the ACC title game. If the committee is successful, a deal would be worked out with the ACC and the Big East to allow the Bulls to play a televised game at RJS the first week in December every other year with the stadium hosting the ACC championship in alternate years.
Reporter Brett McMurphy can be reached at (813) 259-7928 or [email protected]