Last week, on July 17 and 18, the Ford Center hosted the “2017 Big 12 Conference Football Media Days” for the first time. Judging from the reception the venue received from coaches, media, and players in attendance, The Star might be the new home for the two-day college football extravaganza.
The wide-open setup at Ford Center gave the Big 12 organization plenty of room to create an event to remember. On the north end of the field sat a huge stage where coaches and other conference officials held press conferences on Monday and Tuesday. The area in front of the stage had rows of tables for media members to cover the event. The south end of the field held a number of tables on platforms where coaches and players from the 10 members of the Big 12 hosted “breakout sessions” with members of the media each afternoon for informal conversations.
Fox Sports Southwest televised the proceedings on both days with one big set where hosts Ric Renner, Gary Reasons, and Robert Smith conversed with Big 12 coaches and players, but Fox also had a smaller set for additional interviews.
As someone who has attended media days for several different outlets, the setup at The Star, including the catered lunch served both days at the south end of the field, was outstanding. Media days tend to mark the official start of the college football season and this year’s Big 12 gathering was no different than past events in that there was plenty of news to discuss.
One big storyline was the first appearance of new Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley who replaced iconic Sooners coach Bob Stoops upon his retirement earlier this summer. And, those covering Texas wanted to hear everything the Longhorns new head coach, Tom Herman, had to say about how he has changed the culture in Austin in only a few short months.
One of the more interesting stories to come out of the event was from U.T. Austin junior defensive back, PJ Locke III. Locke learned a hard lesson on how seriously Herman and his staff are about training when he had to wake up at 4 AM to do extra drills and clean the weight room after his water bottle fell out of his bag at the team facility.
In the past, Big 12 Football Media Days has been held at an upscale hotel, which made for a nice setting, but having this event at Ford Center raised the bar for future such gatherings. What did the players think of the new setup? Well, West Virginia running back Justin Crawford came away impressed with what he saw at The Star.
It’s nice. I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Crawford said.
Will the Ford Center become the permanent home for Big 12 Football Media Days? One rumor floating around was that the conference is regarded as the best when it comes to college football. The Southeastern Conference, or SEC, whose media days spanned four days in suburban Birmingham this summer is now considering a move of its event to another setting… maybe even to Frisco.
The Star is about to celebrate its one-year anniversary. In that time the entire complex, especially the Ford Center, has hosted its share of outstanding events. Big 12 Football Media Days is the latest addition to that list. Hopefully, the first of many such proceedings held here in Frisco each July.