The University of St Andrews, in Fife, has taken the first step towards delivering the project after its planning committee approved an initial investment of over £300,000.
The money will be used to produce detailed designs for the scheme that will include a new eight-court sports arena, a larger and better equipped fitness suite and a new four-court indoor tennis centre.
It will also see the development of a larger performance conditioning suite, increased changing rooms and a full refurbishment of a current sports centre.
The scheme, which would offer state-of-the-art sports and training facilities to St Andrews students and staff as well as the community, is subject to final approval by the university's ruling court.If it is given the green light, the university will attempt to raise £3m from donors and alumni in addition to the investment of core funds.
The scheme is expected to take two and half years to complete.
Over half the 7700 student population of St Andrews are members of one or more sports club, with more than 4000 students regularly engaging in physical activity.
Stephen Stewart, the university's director of sport and exercise, said: "The university is seriously committed to improving both sporting services and facilities offered to students.
"Over the last few years, we've undergone a number of improvements to both facilities and infrastructure, such as the appointment of three full time directors of sport, as well as an increasing number of head coaches, the creation of a student sport focused management team and the restructuring of the athletic union."
The university's original sports centre was built in 1968 when the student population was fewer than 2000.
Mr Stewart added: "There are now four times as many students and 56 sports clubs to provide facilities for, but a year ago our clubs could only train on half a pitch at a time.
"Through improved facilities and the developmental opportunities we are offering, we are making our students better people too."