Since the announcement in September 2010 that KSU would launch a football team, which included a framework for the development of the program, little has been said about the progress. In fact, as time has gone by without major announcements, students and faculty have begun to wonder if the reality of a team hitting the field in the near future is slim to none.
Finally, after constant questioning on the subject has been met with guarded answers, the university has finally unveiled some good news.
KSU will present a financial plan to the state Board of Regents today in what will be the final step in launching the football program. If approved, President Daniel Papp and athletics Director Vaughn Williams will present the news at a pep-rally, which will be held at noon tomorrow at the Convocation Center.
“We appreciate everyone who has encouraged us, and we eagerly look forward to the board’s decision,” Papp said. “Whatever the board decides, it will have a tremendous impact on the future of KSU’s intercollegiate athletics program and the future of this university.”
The plan includes a $100 increase in student fees, per semester that will be added at the beginning of the coming Fall term. Students approved the student fee increase in an SGA vote in November 2010.
According to a Jan. 3 report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, there’s also the possibility of an announcement of a major donation from a booster—something that was considered vital to jumpstarting the program.
Fielding a football team will also mean the addition of a new women’s team, justified by the mandate of Title IX. There is no indication, to this point, of which sport will be added to the women’s varsity. KSU fields a women’s team in every sport sponsored by the Atlantic Sun Conference except for sand volleyball.
“Many of KSU’s students, friends and supporters are enthusiastic about the possibility of adding football and more women’s intercollegiate sports at the university,” Papp said.
The Atlantic Sun Conference does not sponsor football, which means the Owls will play in a separate conference for football. There’s also a slim possibility that all KSU athletic teams will join a new conference in the process. KSU would participate as a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member of Division I of the NCAA. Other new football programs that have started as FCS Division I members in the region in the past five years include Georgia State, Savannah State and South Alabama.
If the Board of Regents approves of the plan, Williams said he will begin a search for a head coach that could end by February, as well as a search for conference to play in.
The 2010 plan set the target date for kickoff as 2014 at the earliest. However it has now been set for 2015.
Williams confirmed in an interview with The Sentinel last Fall that the Owls will begin play at KSU Stadium, which is an 8,000-plus-seat stadium that is the current home to the women’s soccer and lacrosse teams. The stadium was built to support football but, despite architectural features that offer room for a phase II, will not be expanded.