Count this in the bucket of surprises coming during the college football offseason. According to the Springfield News-Sun, former Ohio State quarterbacks Braxton Miller and Troy Smith are interested in starting a prep school similar to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
The site the two are interested in is the Old Urbana University site that was closed in 2020 by Franklin University used it as a satellite school prior to the pandemic hitting. Before that, Urbana University fielded numerous collegiate teams across various sports before it was sold in 2014. Now, it looks like there could be another purpose for the land if the two Buckeye legends have anything to do with it.
“My Uncle Paul reached out to me about the acquisition with the campus shutting down,” Braxton Miller told the News-Sun. “It was a great opportunity to make my dream come true to have a school in the Midwest, do something big in the Midwest, to bring sports to the Midwest in that format.”
Covering more than 50,000 square acres, the old Urbana campus has 22 buildings including dormitories, a theater, and unused land that could be perfect for the needs of a sports academy.
“Having something like this that already has all the facilities that we need, it was a great idea, a great opportunity for us to jump on it and try to attack the process of creating our own school,” Braxton Miller said.
— Springfield News-Sun (@springfieldnews) June 11, 2021
IMG Academy started in 1978 but as only a tennis academy. Since then, it has grown to one of the top training grounds for some of the top athletes in the country across multiple sports. Some of the best prospects come from all over the country to attend IMG Academy and college recruiters flock to the campus often to recruit and sign some of the best prep talent anywhere.
There’s still a lot of work to do, but having something similar to that in Ohio could be a boon for Ohio State and other Midwestern schools who often have to head down to Florida to cherry-pick some exceptional talent that often likes to stay in the southeast.
“It’s not all the way up to par yet, but we’re in the process of making it happen,” Miller said according to the report. “There’s a lot of things in between with the acquisition of the campus, and we’re taking our time with that. We’re crossing our Ts, dotting our ‘I’s and making the right decisions as far as acquiring something like this to create our own prep school.”
We’ll keep our eyes on this as more details emerge, but for now, file this away into the peaked interest column.