LSU revealed its newly renovated football operations and performance nutrition center on Sunday night, showcasing a project that cost nearly $28 million and includes a new, "first class" style locker room.
But in the 24 hours after the big reveal, athletes past and present took to social media to question and defend the renovations and its cost.
The newest renovation project in LSU athletics has been completed.
The project, paid for with private donations to the athletic department, includes the addition of nearly 25,000 square feet, with a new training room, offices, locker room, players lounge and cafeteria.
Questions on social media surfaced, wondering about the renovation of the football facility while also pointing out the shape of the university's library. The Chronicle of Higher Education published a story with the headline: "LSU Just Unveiled a $28-Million Football Facility. The Flood-Damaged Library Is Still ‘Decrepit.’"
LSU Manship School of Mass Communication professor Robert Mann spotlighted one of the LSU football team's tweets from the newly renovated locker room, adding "Meanwhile, across campus, I vacuum my faculty office with a Dust Devil I bought at Walmart."
Meanwhile, across campus, I vacuum my faculty office with a Dust Devil I bought at Walmart. https://t.co/fsVSPhmsOO— Robert Mann (@RTMannJr) July 22, 2019
Mann, previously a columnist for The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com, wrote a column in 2016 about LSU library's "decay," calling it a "symbol of Louisiana's misplaced priorities."
In a now-deleted response, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow replied to Mann: "Why, professor, do you feel entitled to the fruits of our labor?"
Burrow wasn't the only football player who took to Twitter to defend the new facility and its cost.
Linebacker Michael Divinity chimed in, pointing out that the facility was funded by private donations.
A second player, linebacker Patrick Queen, shared Divinity's response, adding: "Say it louder!! Crazy people from your own school can't stand to see us be happy for something we worked for and didn't cost a penny out of their pocket!"
At least one former LSU Tiger weighed in on the discussion, saying the renovations were not needed. Eric Reid, who currently plays for the Carolina Panthers, said LSU's previous locker room was "better than the current one in Carolina."
The locker room when I was at LSU 7 years ago was better than the current one in Carolina. But there’s no money to compensate these young men for the revenue they bring to the school #JustSaying https://t.co/hlQtMy8dwd— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) July 22, 2019
"But there's no money to compensate these young men for the revenue they bring to the school #justsaying," he added on Twitter.
"Dont u find it interesting that we can convince people 2 donate millions 2 renovate a facility that doesn't need renovating?" Reid said in another tweet. "How many scholarships could have been given with the money used 2 renovate?"
Among some of the flashiest parts of the project is is the locker room.
Each player has a dedicated space that looks more like a first-class pod on an airplane. Each pod has a chair that folds out into a bed, storage space, an iPad holder to watch film and more.
The renovation takes the place of the old center, which opened in 2005.
LSU announced Friday that there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility on Wednesday.
Fall camp begins Aug. 2.
See more social media responses below.
After seeing the LSU football player sleeping pods and $28 million locker room renovation, LSU rising senior @catcmckinney shares what she says is a photo of a section of the school’s library... pic.twitter.com/i2OSkOF3bT— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 22, 2019
┏┓— Bren (@thebaileyinator) July 22, 2019
┃┃╱╲ in this
▔▏┗┛▕▔ understand that
the LSU Athletic Department
is not responsible for building
a new campus library
I've said this 100 times: I don't begrudge LSU athletics anything they have and that they've built or purchased with private dollars. I only wish the state treated what happens on the other side of campus as equally important to the school's success as football, baseball, etc.— Robert Mann (@RTMannJr) July 22, 2019
This building isn't possible without the support of our former players and the generosity of our @lsutaf donors. Every penny of this project was funded by philanthropic gifts. No university or taxpayers dollars were used. Thank you for making this possible. #LSU https://t.co/mtwy8t0RVQ— Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette) July 22, 2019
The whole facilities debate is just proving my theory that LSU's greatest rival is itself.— Zach🐷 (@zrau) July 22, 2019
The football program alone brings in over $150 million a year in revenue, which financially bails LSU out every single year. Even if LSU had paid for it (which it didn’t), the return on investment would justify the facility. The problem is not athletics. Athletics is the answer. https://t.co/eFHMyTaapx— Trent Forshag (@TrentForshag) July 22, 2019
Also the money we bring into the university could have more than paid for it even if we didn’t have such generous boosters. https://t.co/WeO6sYvI48— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) July 22, 2019
Over the last 10 years, LSU Athletics has contributed roughly $100 Million dollars towards the general University... nearly $40 million in the last 5 years... #TheMoreYouKnow #AthleticsAreTheAnswerNotProblem— 'Thee' Jeff Martin (@G5JeffMartin) July 22, 2019