COLUMBIA, S.C. – Ray Tanner has plenty on his plate as he moves forward in his fifth year as South Carolina athletics director.
Chief among them is overseeing the next phase of the football operations center.
“Phase two will begin in earnest this fall. The steps we go through are Building and Grounds, Full Board, Commission on Higher (Education), Joint Bond and Review and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority,” Tanner said, “So all those entities will have to be visited with approvals, before we can go out to bid and break ground.
“So when would we break ground? Optimistically, with approvals in place, very earliest (at) the end of the year, early next year.”
With so many hoops to jump through, Tanner told reporters on Thursday that there are no guarantees on an exact date for ground-breaking.
“We’ve got to go through the Phase II approval process and there have been times when you don’t always get approval or you can get a delay, you could be asked to bring back more information, so the possibility does exist that there could be an issue,” he said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll move through the process with success. I can’t stand here and tell you it will definitely happen.”
School officials are also in the midst of installing a new floor in Colonial Life Arena. After receiving input from men’s coach Frank Martin and women’s coach Dawn Staley, Tanner expects the floor to be in place within the next couple of months.
“The old floor was great,” Tanner said. “We sanded it and there were some dead spots in it, so we’ll have a new floor before the season.”
South Carolina is also finalizing the details of its new contract with Under Armour.
“I spent some time, actually, this morning, to finish the t’s and the i’s, but we’re very close, but it’s not really any different than what was reported previously,” Tanner said. “Officially, we’re almost there. They’re visiting next week, the Under Armour senior level staff is coming in and visiting with our coaches and coach (Will) Muschamp.”
Tanner was also asked about Muschamp’s predecessor, Steve Spurrier, who recently left his post as an ambassador for South Carolina, to take a similar position at Florida.
“I had advance knowledge … but coach Spurrier and I have had a good relationship for many years and we talked about it,” Tanner said. “They, coach Spurrier and Jerri, they made a tremendous impact during their time in Columbia. I’m happy for them. They’re excited about their new venture. We’re happy we had their family with us for a long time.”