USF Beats UCF In The Budget Wars


USF and UCF are known to be rivals in sports but now it seems like the Bulls have beaten the Knights in the world of politics.

The future of a new downtown campus for the University of Central Florida is on hold as it was announced on Tuesday that Gov. Rick Scott used his pen to veto $15 million that was headed for the  $200 million downtown Orlando campus project.

The money was earmarked for designing and planning the new UCF downtown campus, which already has a location a few blocks from the Amway Center. The project will be put on hold for the moment but the university did issue a statement that they were moving forward despite this setback.

“I think it’s important to note that, despite the actions today, we are not giving up on UCF Downtown,” UCF spokesman Grant Heston said. “We think the project is too important to the Central Florida community. We have too much local support for it to do anything expect continue to move forward.”

UCF has been looking to expand its footprint and attract more high-tech students. The downtown campus would have incorporated urban living, while focusing on cutting-edge career fields.

The Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center expansion is also on hold with the requested $5 million vetoed from the state budget.

Meanwhile, in Tampa they were all smiles as the University of South Florida was a big winner in the 2015 state budget derby. Gov. Scott did approve $17 million to USF to move the Morsani College of Medicine to a new downtown Tampa location and to contribute $12.3 million to USF St. Petersburg’s College of Business.

A third USF project that was $16 million for a Heart Health Institute did not make this year’s budget and will be put off until next year.

On the downtown front the move of the Morsani College of Medicine to downtown was also set to get some local backing as Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, had committed to donate money for the USF Health project downtown, but he assumed that the $17 million would be sufficient to proceed.


Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.