Nike Chairman of the Board Phil Knight has single-handily transformed the University of Oregon Athletic Department

The University of Oregon is Nike’s poster child so it should not come as a surprise that they are building another extravagant facility for the athletic program. The Ducks continue to receive the latest and best when it comes to Nike technology and have no boundaries when it comes to innovation. Though some of their jerseys may appear outlandish, Oregon athletics is spoiled to a fault of having anything Nike can offer. Their facilities are in a league of their own and in some cases better than some professional facilities. Nike chairman Phil Knight loves the program and has been known to spend some money and donate to the program. Now, a new $68M, 130,000-square-foot football facility is being built as we speak and will be ready by the 2013 season.

Since 1998, Knight has been a key contributor to new facilities on campus including one of the fist indoor football facilities, a $227M basketball arena, and a $42M academic center built exclusively for athletes. Knight is the gift that keeps on giving! While some educational programs on campus aren’t happy with the continued expansion in the athletic department, the long-term success and revenue from sports helps the school. The University’s economic professor Bill Harbaugh stated “On average, the faculty likes it when the football team does better. And we understand that it takes some resources to attract the best people. But obviously we’re jealous when we see the difference between their facilities and the facilities we have for teaching.”

A mock-up of the expansion of the Casanova Center

The fact is, these facilities dramatically help in recruiting the best players and even students to attend the university. The revenue from having good sports teams on campus helps the educational institution in more ways than they know. In fact, the money made off of ticket sales and fan merchandise helps generate the money to have new facilities, book, and jobs. The University of Oregon has become an iconic place for athletes to go to school. As a former collegiate football player, I have always looked at Oregon in admiration for the facilities and Nike products they have. I mean, take a look at their training facility and the technology used and tell me it does not feel like a spa.

The new Operations facility being built is designed to be one of the premier athletic facilities in the country at the college and professional level, all as a gift from Nike. It features a wide array of amenities including:

  • Two sky bridge-linked, black metal and glass buildings on top of an underground parking lot
  • A 2,285-square-foot players lounge
  • A 150-seat dining hall
  • 124 climate controlled lockers with iPod docks
  • Two movie theaters
  • An advanced video center for editing
  • 9 dedicated classrooms for key positions on the team
  • A war room modeled after the White House war room
  • An Oregon football museum
  • Showers with customized Oregon green shampoo holders
  • Hot tub and steam room for coaches near the “teaching box”

Here are the blueprints of the facility: Blueprints

Now is this facility needed, I would say no. But, it fits The University of Oregon’s philosophy; staying ahead of the competition with the latest and greatest technology Nike has to offer. This new $68M palace will add another piece to an already impressive resume of facilities at Oregon and shows the power of Nike. The addition will push Oregon’s facilities to “outrageously impressive,” according to ESPN’s ranking of college facilities. Phil Knight will always come up with new ways to make his Alma Mater the best place to go to school, even if that means going over the top at times. Oregon will always go above the standard to show what their partnership with Nike can do for athletic programs. Instead of the name University of ‘Oregon’, the school should be deemed University of ‘Nike.’

A lot of institutions look at Oregon to generate new ideas for their sports programs. Thanks to Oregon we now have Nike Pro Combat Jerseys. Thanks to Oregon, we now have Nike football gloves that form a logo when held together. Thanks to Oregon, there is more Nike product adaptation in the world. Nike’s partnership with Oregon has been very beneficial to them and Knight continues to show his generosity. Now that Nike is sponsoring the NFL, look for Phil Knight to use the Seattle Seahawks as his pupil for future professional renovations.

(Photos courtesy of Oregon Daily Emerald and