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News Clips 01/16/2013
UNF begins to explore possibility of adding football program
Source: St. Augustine Record, 01/16/13
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By Justin Barney
The University of North Florida will begin a fact-gathering process about the possibility of adding football to the school, UNF president John Delaney said on Tuesday.
Delaney authorized the UNF Board of Trustees to begin soliciting input from students and faculty, and in addition, do some of the early legwork to see just how realistic adding the sport would be.
“I do want to stress that we’re thinking about thinking about it,” Delaney said. “We’ve made no commitment. We haven’t begun discussions with the faculty or looking at the budgets.”
It’s a change of direction for the school on the football issue, brought on entirely from how much the landscape has shifted in college athletics in less than a decade. Delaney said that when recommended that UNF make the move to NCAA Division I in 2004, he punctuated it with the “three no’s” — no change in admission standards, no academic funds to be used on athletics, and no football.
Things changed significantly since then which forced UNF to accelerate at least it’s thinking process about the sport.
Delaney said that his thought process on football have shifted for reasons such as UNF’s enrollment, which is up from just over 14,000 in 2004, to nearly 17,000 now. Additionally, college conferences across the country have looked to add member schools at the expense of others. Several major conferences have nearly dissolved because of defections.
“I’ve long said 25,000 students ... to be able to make it work, and so I thought it was many, many years away, especially with this recession,” Delaney said. “Then the major shakeup in the conferences, where the big boys raided the little boys and the little boys raiding the mid-majors, and the mid-majors raiding the entry-level conferences.”
Delaney said that other schools in the Atlantic Sun Conference, of which UNF is a member of, are also talking about the possibility of adding football.
“Our budget, Title IX, how it will impact our budget, we’ve got a lot of things to look at and see if it’s even affordable,” Delaney said.