Tuesday, July 23, 2013

23 July 2013 $3.5 million short fall not football’s fault

Cassi Creek: 
          East Tennessee State University cancelled its previous football program because attendance was low and the program was terminated in 2003
A good explanation of the failure is included below.

ETSU football gone for good
Published: Thursday, December 9, 2010
Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 17:0

“During the years of 1999 to 2003, the ETSU football team was losing close to $1 million dollars each year. Losing games and costing money, the ETSU men's football team was sucking financially and on the field.

Budget limitations and state legislature that included Title IX were two of the many reasons that prompted ETSU President Stanton to terminate the failing athletic program.

Since its 2003 demise, the football team has benefited the university in its absence more than it ever hoped to while it was still alive.

The money that was being funneled into the dismal football team is now going toward university improvements both athletic and educational, as well as scholarships for students in other athletic programs.

Although Title IX's main purpose was to promote equality among men and women's teams within the athletic departments of universities, the 1972 educational amendment ended up meaning much more than that and become ETSU's saving grace.

Without the termination of ETSU football, who knows how far the university would have gone to keep the program alive and limping along.

I believe that had the program remained open, it would have ended up costing ETSU students hundreds of extra dollars a year.

In a 2007 ballot referendum, students voted against an increase in student athletic fees that would pay for a new football program.

It would have cost almost $5 million to restore both the football team and institute a new female athletic department that would be required to meet the Title IX requirement.

Thankfully, the ETSU student population voted against the resurgence of the football program.

To bring back the football team, the athletic fees that students pay in their tuition were going to rise by the hundreds and that is most likely why most students voted against the return of the program.

For now, it looks like ETSU football is dead and buried. I am supportive of the university's decisions in many things but one thing I will never support is the misuse of funding.

The only way that the football program could ever return to the ETSU campus is at the expense of all of the students who, after paying hundreds of dollars of athletic fees to bring football back, wouldn't show up to the games anyway.”

State Building Commission Approves ETSU Football Stadium
Thursday, July 11, 2013
“Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) on Thursday announced the Tennessee State Building Commission's approval of a project to build a new football stadium for East Tennessee State University. After a decade-long hiatus, ETSU has recently rebooted its football program under the supervision of former University of Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer. Last month, ETSU hired former University of North Carolina coach Carl Torbush as the university’s new head coach for the program.
“I’m so proud to have football coming back to the East Tennessee State University. College is first and foremost about academics but a full and complete college experience is crucial to attracting top top-quality students to the university,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. “The return of football to the ETSU campus will enrich university life in so many ways. But the first step to building a great football program is building a high-quality facility. I’m excited that the commission has approved this outstanding project.”
Thursday’s approval by the Building Commission authorizes the selection of a designer who will fully plan the first phase of the project and begin pre-planning the entire project. The first phase of the stadium will be funded entirely from student fees. The fee was approved by the university Student Government Association in January.
The proposed East Tennessee State University football stadium will seat approximately 10,000 people and is expected to cost $18 million dollars to build.”

We moved to North East Tennessee in 2006.  The lack of a football team at a small state university was of no significance at all.  Since then, we have seen episodic attempts by former ETSU football players and other alumni calling for a new football team. 
          The ETSU administration has succeeded in ramming a new football program, complete with a new stadium into being.  The student government association approved a $125/semester fee assessed to all students to pay part of the costs of rebuilding a football program.  Understand that the student body was not asked to or allowed to vote on this assessment. 
          My wife and I have been students at ETSU since moving here.  We have no interest in attending football games in a new stadium that did not need to be built, or in an old but serviceable stadium.  The $125 fee assessment rubberstamped by the SGA would be better spent by us, and by most students, for textbooks.  Textbooks have far more connection with the reason universities exist than does football.  We will drop out rather than support a useless football program. 
          Today’s Johnson City Press contains an article indicating that that ETSU projects a $3.5 million shortfall for the coming fiscal year.  Professors’ salaries are to be cut; maintenance cutbacks and other costs directly related to the main purpose of an educational facility will be implemented.  However, the football coach has been hired at a salary of $250,000.  Scholarship funds will be shifted from academic programs to football players, many of whom will never graduate. 
          I have long contended that the primary beneficiary of public school athletics has been the privately owned athletic franchises that generate billions of dollars per franchise annually.  If ETSU wants a new football team, perhaps it should apply to the NFL to fund it.  For that matter, athletic program funding in all public schools should be billed to the NFL and other professional leagues.  Public school monies should be used for education, not athletic training and selection for the next level farm team. 
          When I initially attended university at a major land grant university, I found my student fees included a similar assessment.  Despite having to pay this unwanted fee each semester, I never attended a single football game during my undergraduate years.  Like many of the students in today’s universities, I spent 40 hours a week working to supplement my GI Bill checks and another 40 or more hours studying. That $125/semester would have paid for a lot of groceries.  Instead, it went into a fund for athletic scholarships, paying tuition for people who, for the most point did not graduate and who were not selected to become professional athletes. 
          How disappointing to see the same highway robbery practiced at ETSU. 

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