Some thoughts on stadium clearing final hurdle

I have been working the phone for most of the afternoon and haven’t had a chance to get to the blog to post some thoughts about UNT’s new football stadium passing the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board until now.

I talked to Rick Villarreal and he called it a monumental day in the history of UNT athletics.

I don’t think anyone is going to disagree.

UNT will be on equal footing with a lot of its rivals in Texas and the Sun Belt Conference when the venue opens in 2011.

The school wasn’t even close a few years ago, but has been inching closer ever since. UNT has added the Mean Green Athletic Center, which was a huge boost and improved its funding in a lot of areas.

The football stadium was the final piece of the puzzle, at least in terms of the amenities the program has to work with.

Fouts is a terrible place to play or watch a game. Facilities are one big reason players decide to attend a school, and UNT has always been near the bottom of the list in Division I when it comes to what it has to work with.

With a new stadium and athletic center, the school will be right up there with who it has to compete against.

It has been a dreary time in UNT football history since 2004, the last year of the Mean Green’s four-year run as Sun Belt champs.

You have to give Villarreal and his staff credit for what they have done the last few years to pull the Mean Green out of the FBS basement.

For the first time in a long time, there is a bright ray of sunshine and some hope that UNT will finally get to where it wants to go as an athletic department and football program.