The University of Rhode Island men’s and women’s basketball programs both will be the beneficiaries of a new $200 thousand, state of the art film room that is being constructed in the Ryan Center.
Thanks to funding from athletic donors and a trade deal with Cox Communications to provide the equipment, the video and film room is entirely self funded.
The film room will be in what was previously the media room and press conference room that was used before and after all men’s and women’s basketball home games and football games. The room will still stand as a media room but will also double as the film room.
The University’s athletic director Thorr Bjorn says that the film room was just the next step on a journey to revamp the school’s athletic facilities. When URI men’s head coach Dan Hurley arrived in Kingston six years ago the basketball facilities started to get upgraded.
“Year one when he (Hurley) was here we did over the locker room,” Bjorn said. “In year two we did the offices over for men’s and women’s basketball. Then there were some major investments the University made to the Ryan Center. Then, in talking, what was something else we needed to do? A video room was certainly one.”
Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams were previously reviewing game film in their team offices and locker rooms. Bjorn said that the teams could have survived continuing to do the same, however he said that the athletic department felt they needed a new space because of how important film is to team success.
Last season, with the men’s basketball program making it to their first NCAA tournament in 18 years, season ticket revenue has risen and so has donorship funding, however the funding for the film room project came before the team’s postseason run.
“We put together a campaign about a year or so ago called the Men’s Basketball Excellence Fund,” Bjorn said. “We have 10 to 12 people that have committed half a million dollars a year in total for five years to help us with our men’s basketball operating budget.” Bjorn said that the individual that made the first contribution to the film room is apart of the excellence fund.
Men’s basketball will enjoy the luxury of the film room, while also sharing it with the women’s team. It is a gender equity law to give the women’s team the same access.
“At this point it has been easier for us to raise money on the men’s side rather than the women’s side,” Bjorn said. “But, at the same time it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to continue to invest or make access for the women’s program. It is not only the right thing to do and what we need to do to get that program to where we want it to be, but it is also our legal option.”
Bjorn said that the film room is just another step in the University’s future plans to renovate and add to athletic facilities. “The University is going to be embarking on a capital campaign,” Bjorn said. “Athletics is going to be a primary focus in that. We got to keep investing in facilities. We got to get turf and lights at Meade Stadium, we got to get a track built, we have to do something with softball, we got to get a basketball practice facility. We cannot stop.”
The film room is set to be finished on or before Friday, Oct. 13.