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Roethlisberger gives ‘Big’ donation to Miami

Athletic director David Sayler (left) presents Ben Roethlisberger (right) with his Miami Athletic Hall of Fame certificate in February 2013.

Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography Editor

Big Ben's donation to Miami University goes beyond the $1 million he gave to the Indoor Sports Center.

"He's giving us a million dollars, so I don't want to belittle that part, but my point to everyone is Ben being willing to attach his name to Miami football is worth a 100 million dollars," head football coach Chuck Martin said. "So, he gave us a 101 million dollar gift."

Miami announced Monday that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his wife Ashley will donate $1 million for Miami's Indoor Sports Center and Miami will name the playing surface "Ben Roethlisberger Field."

"This gift is a huge thank you to everything, on and off the field, that Miami University provided me," Roethlisberger said in a press release. "Attending Miami was one of the best decisions of my life and I am happy to play a small part in helping to rebuild this football program."

Martin thinks bringing a future Hall of Famer in Roethlisberger back into the program will help recruiting.

"You have quarterbacks of the future, now that he's gonna be really, really involved with our program hopefully, that can tap into his knowledge and that's pretty incredible for the future of Miami," Martin said.

The promise of improved facilities, namely the Indoor Sports Center, also brightens the future of Miami football. Construction on the facility is well under way, with the project expected to be completed in January. All of Miami's athletic programs will use the facility.

Miami lagged behind in the facilities arms race before athletic director David Sayler arrived in January 2013. Sayler has raised roughly $29 million in pledges and gifts in his last 20 months at the helm of Miami athletics.

"I want to thank Ben and Ashley for their support of Miami Athletics," Sayler said in a press release. "This gift continues our vision to make a difference in the lives of our student-athletes and that includes winning MAC Championships. I am thankful that both Ben and Ashley share in that same vision."

While the Indoor Sports Center is priced at $13 million, Martin believes the addition of Roethlisberger is priceless.

"For me as a head football coach, and for recruiting and for our staff and for our players and for everyone that is really part of our football family, that his name is gonna be attached to our program forever, I don't even know if a 100 million is enough," Martin said. "You can't put a price tag on that because it is Ben Roethlisberger."