Exploring major USC Athletics renovations

New DI facilities come at the expense of recreational tennis and pickleball courts.

Dedeaux Field has been home to the USC baseball team since 1974. It will be reopened for the 2026 season. (Thomas Johnson / Daily Trojan)

In June 2023, President Carol Folt announced sprawling new plans to completely renovate USC’s athletic facilities. These renovations include a much-improved football performance center, baseball stadium, and a shared stadium for lacrosse and soccer. The massive changes are part of Folt’s “moonshot” vision for USC and are timely, as the Trojans prepare to enter the Big Ten this fall. 

The football team will receive two practice fields that can be directly accessed by a new three-floor complex. The new complex will feature a new locker room, multiple player lounges, a recovery hub, nutritional support, sports sciences services and a training room. USC football’s new home will also feature a team auditorium, position meeting rooms, recruiting areas and flexible space for future growth. 

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The team’s current home, the McKay Center, is just over 10 years old. However, the building is shared by multiple teams and is dwarfed in size by football programs around the country. An upgrade was a paramount need ahead of the impending competition change to come as the Trojans join the Big Ten. 

In a USC Today article on the impending transformations, Head Coach Lincoln Riley called the change “an absolute game-changer for our program. It will be the perfect home for our team and give our players every opportunity to be successful.” 

Rawlinson Stadium, a new stadium for women’s lacrosse and women’s soccer, will open next year as part of the renovations. On game days, the stadium will boast a maximum capacity of 2,500 attendees. It will also offer spectator viewing decks, social spaces, a cutting-edge press box, restrooms for spectators, a box office, concession stands and a grand formal entry plaza. 

The team’s former home, McAlister Field, had subpar amenities and poor artificial turf. The new complex will solve those issues in a considerable way. In a day and age where the dangers of turf are known far and wide, Rawlinson Stadium will have a natural grass field, key for the safeties of its athletes. 

“[The women’s lacrosse team is] all so excited,” said Head Coach Lindsey Munday in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “They really got insight from all different parties so that we all have a hand in this new amazing stadium that we’re going to be able to compete in … People that come and support us to watch our girls compete at the highest level [are now going to be] in one of the best lacrosse stadiums in the country. [It] is going to be incredible for both fans as well as our players.” 

This season, the lacrosse team has played at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, and have a couple of games scheduled at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“We’re practicing on campus, so to travel to Carson for five games was relatively easy for us. Now, playing in an epic venue like the Coliseum is a really great experience for our players,” Munday said. 

The transition has been as smooth as possible.

“The facilities team did a phenomenal job making Dignity Health really feel like home,” Munday said. “We’re just really grateful for all the effort that was put into making an off-site stadium feel like it was a home match for us.” 

Lastly, USC baseball will receive a new Dedeaux Field complex once the renovations are finished. Open for 50 years, the stadium was in need of updates and now will be completely refreshed. 

The stadium will be designed with an array of fan-centric enhancements to elevate the overall experience. These include diverse seating options catering to different preferences, inviting outdoor social areas, an exclusive indoor hospitality space, numerous concession stands for food variety and a state-of-the-art video board with audio systems to enhance engagement during events. A sprawling modern press box will also be installed. 

However, the new Dedeaux Field will have to wait until 2026. This season, the team is playing at three different venues across the Southern California area. Without the home field, the team will face plenty of adversity this season. 

Unfortunately, these upheavals will result in the removal of all the recreational tennis and pickleball courts on campus. 

In a January announcement, USC’s Student Life website stated, “At this time, we expect the existing recreational tennis and pickleball courts will be removed in May 2024 as part of the development of new Athletics facilities in that space. The university is actively investigating options for replacement of these courts in order to continue providing access to recreational tennis and pickleball facilities for the USC community.”

This announcement came as a shock to students who frequent the courts. 

A petition started in February by students has over 1,200 signatures at the time of publication, calling for a replacement of these courts by the fall. The University has left students in the dark to this point, with no alternative presented and the courts set to be destroyed next month. 

USC taught 11 tennis classes this semester, each with around 20 students. Only three classes are scheduled to take place in the fall, and will likely use Marks Tennis Stadium, where the varsity team plays and practices. This 73% reduction of classes will be extremely detrimental to tennis players and the varsity courts will likely not be available to recreational players outside of the classes. 

There are almost always lines to play tennis, and the lines for pickleball are generally longer. The courts offer a community for club tennis players who cherish their playing time each week. It offers a great opportunity to be active and make new friends. 

USC is prioritizing its athletic facilities in a major way ahead of its move to the Big Ten Conference. The complete overhaul will transform the school’s teams and recruiting operations, as well as use the dense west side of campus in a much more efficient manner.

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