Dr. Paul Stanton announced today that football will return to ETSU as early as 2010 IF $16 million can be raised AND students approve the student athletic fee increase AND the Tennessee Board of Regents approves the return of the program. Well, I suppose that’s better than nothing.

I would love to see football return to ETSU. As a HUGE college football fan (e.g., I’m thrilled to be having my baby during college football playoff time, as the games will be my “focal point” during labor!), I’m excited by the idea of having a college football team playing each weekend only a few miles down the road. While hubby and I attend at least one Tennessee game per year, we would attend many more if the games were closer and less expensive. Going to ETSU football games is the perfect solution. While we’ll continue to attend our customary Tennessee game (or two) each year, we will certainly attend several ETSU games, and look forward to doing so with our children.

Here’s where I see problems:
A college football program (or any college program, for that matter) MUST have the support of the University. The issue with the football program was not financial, as numerous local business owners offered many millions of dollars to keep the program running. The issue was lack of support from the University. We can raise all the money in the world, but without University backing, the new ETSU football team is as good as gone before it even gets here.

I am disappointed with the results of the student poll. Only 30% of the students enrolled at the university this fall voted on whether or not to bring back the football program and whether or not they were willing to face an increase in student fees to do so. Although turnout was significantly higher in this poll than in the poll a year and a half ago which approved a student fee increase for a concert each semester (thus leading to the Ludacris debacle), one would think that students would put forth more of an effort to have a say-so in how much money the university is going to squeeze from them. But, alas, apathy runs through the entire population…college campuses are certainly no exception.

So, I’m cautiously optimistic.

Is anyone else going to see “We Are Marshall” this weekend? Now THAT’S a school that got behind its football program!