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Kansas in planning stages of a $17.5 million apartment complex for men’s and women’s basketball players

Jan 10, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

Bill Self

In college basketball recruiting, programs are always looking for an edge.

In Kansas’ case, sometimes it isn’t enough having one of the top coaches in the game, state of the art facilities, and one of the most rabid and loyal fan bases in the country — not to mention, being a perennial top team that advances deep into March.

For the Jayhawks, that edge may come in the form of a $17.5 million apartment complex that will house up to 32 men’s and women’s basketball players. The complex is projected to open for the 2016-17 academic year, and is located south of Allen Fieldhouse on Naismith Drive.

Kansas associate athletic director Jim Marchiony told The Kansas City Star: “We have one of the very elite basketball programs in the country, and we want to do everything we can to stay there. Not only that, we need to, and housing is part of that.” 

To an extent, it’s really about keeping up with the Joneses. 17 and 18 year old kids are highly impressionable. The program itself and coaches can only be so much of a sell, and other factors like facilities, dormitories, and other aspects of a school that aren’t directly related to the basketball program factor into recruiting.

Recently, Kentucky build a dormitory for the basketball program:

Housing for athletes at big-time programs has become more and more lavish. In 2012, the University of Kentucky built the Wildcat Coal Lodge, a $7 million, privately-funded dormitory designed to house the school’s basketball players. According to NCAA rules, schools cannot provide dormitories for the exclusive use of student-athletes. But they can reserve space in on-campus housing for athletes, so the residents at the Wildcat Coal Lodge are a mix of basketball players and students who aren’t scholarship athletes.

Said Marchiony: “We want to stay in the elite few of college basketball programs, and you have to continue to move forward.”