Orlando, Fla. — Penn State is on the verge of approving a contract extension for athletic director Sandy Barbour, she announced on Monday.
Barbour, who came to run the Nittany Lions’ athletic department from California back in 2014, said that she believes her new deal is awaiting approval from the Board of Trustees, which should take place in early January. Her current contract is set to expire on Aug. 31, 2019.
“This is my last stop,” Barbour said during a pre-Citrus Bowl news conference here.
“Where would I want to go that’s a better opportunity, a better fit for me than Penn State? And this next contract will certainly help me do that.”
Penn State can win 10 games or more for the first time in the Big Ten era by beating Kentucky on Tuesday, but either way, Barbour has already oversaw an athletic department that has earned a Big Ten title in football, multiple national wrestling championships, and other marquee honors and/or crowns since she arrived.
Barbour also said that fundraising continues to be a priority as the school looks to upgrade its facilities, including Beaver Stadium at some point down the road, and she added that Penn State has upped its game when it comes to how much James Franklin has to spend on football assistant coaches.
“We’ve raised more in half a year this year for football than we have in any previous year in our history,” Barbour said.
“We feel good about that momentum. Overall, I feel very good about the case for support. Penn State’s strength has always been in scholarship endowment. We’re shifting that focus a little bit to facilities, and that’s taken some time, but we’re approaching $70 million from a facilities standpoint.”
Parts of the Lasch Building have already been renovated, and work has been done for the basketball team at the Bryce Jordan Center. An academic center was also recently built on campus.
As for other highlights from Barbour’s time with reporters, she was asked to address the parking situation around Beaver Stadium after some or all of the grass lots surrounding it were closed for multiple games near the end of the home season due to rain.
“What we’re left to do is make as many adjustments as we possibly can,” Barbour said. “If we were able to [pave the lots], we certainly would, but most of our grass lots are intramural or ag fields. For us, it’s about what do we have within our control?
“We made arrangements for our patrons both for alternate parking and transportation in. Not ideal, but in terms of our tools, those are the things that we can do. There probably are a small number of lots that we can make improvement to, and we will look at doing those things, and continue to look for suggestions.”
In other words, hoping for good weather and maybe adjusting a couple of the grass lots around Beaver Stadium may be an option, but there is no quick or easy fix for the parking problems that sent fans to a variety of off-site parking lots before taking a shuttle to the 107,000-seat venue.