Once again the question of bring football back has been brought before ETSU’s body.
Once again the vote to support it will be brought before the SGA (tomorrow night).
And once again, I believe it will be voted down.
Well, by the SGA that is.
Let me clarify a little bit. While I believe student government has some power, they will be very hard-pressed to stop this train that seems to be charging toward bringing back a Saturday afternoon tradition to blue and gold nation. If this bill does not get passed, I can’t help but think there will be another come up.
It’s almost like the stars are aligning. First there were rumors of ETSU moving conferences, and then Dave Mullins got pushed to the side in the athletic department. At the same time those things were happening, former Buccaneer Mike Smith coached the Atlanta Falcons all the way to an NFC title game, proving the words “ETSU” and “football” can, in fact, exist in the same sentence without a negative there.
But wait! There’s more!
Now there’s an article with Phillip Fulmer saying he’d be “willing to help ETSU.”
Talk about media buzz.
The reason this surprises me is that ETSU president Brian Noland came into office saying that football was not the biggest concern. I thought I remembered several advocates of the sport getting a little peeved about that.
Now he seems to be at the helm of a steamroller looking to pave the way for the Bucs to put on pads once more.
As many people that I hear screaming for the return of football, I hear just as many complaints that the university will be doing nothing more than resurrecting a money pit, and that moving conferences would only detract from an established basketball program in the Atlantic Sun.
Although moving to a different conference would be a decision mostly based on if football returns or not, I am encouraged to hear new athletic director saying basketball is the top concern right now, saying “nothing will be done that could damage basketball. Every decision must provide [them] the best opportunity to succeed.” (from our sit down interview with Richard Sander)
Basketball is, and will be for quite a while, the biggest cash cow that ETSU has to offer.
“But football is what we came here to read about!” you say. “When are you going to get back to that? Nobody cares about the hard court! ”
Fair enough. I only bring up basketball because it’s something the students are comfortable with, and being spoiled by that will make the difference in the vote.
They’ve been living in the perfect setup for them now: there is an entertaining sport to watch whenever there is nothing left to do, and there aren’t any extra fees, which keeps tuition at a reasonable price (relatively).
I believe that the incentive for paying the 125-dollar fee (per semester) is just not there for students right now. They’d be looking at an extra $1000 over four years and that would most likely be just to get the program started. Even though this university is filled with local students, I feel that most of them (or us, as I’m still one of them for a few months) are unwilling to part with that much money for a team that won’t be here for a few years, even thought it could benefit their community. Although Noland’s 125 committee wants to have a competitive team playing within five years, it seems like the majority of the students here won’t go out of their way to fund a team from scratch.
So in the end, I think, this particular legislation will not be supported in SGA congress tomorrow.
But frankly, I don’t know if that will be enough to stop the return of football.