darn time. Recent reports have heated up about UNCW’s willingness to
implement a football team. These rumblings could be the first step to
future Seahawks donning shoulder pads.
According to reports, the UNCW student government held an open forum on
Tuesday night to assess whether a football team could be feasible. Over
300 students were in attendance for the discussion session. But the
echoes from the summit could be heard loud and wide.
Athletic director Mike Cappacio answered questions from students about
potential costs of jump-starting a program. He estimated that it would
take upwards of $35 million to finance a team. A facility would be a
top priority, as well as needed scholarship benefits.
Money aside, roughly 65 women’s scholarships would have to be added to
supplement the men’s additions. Title IX, passed in 1972, requires that
institutions receiving federal money have equal scholarships from both
men and women’s sports.
UNCW officials have stated that it is not their wish to cut current
sports offered by the university. But it would seem likely that UNCW
would be forced to cut some women’s and even men’s sports to cut the
UNCW could either cut men’s soccer, golf or tennis to create more room
for the women’s scholarship to carry more weight. Women’s crew or
lacrosse could be possible ideas. Even so, limiting Olympic sports
would be a route that UNCW would have to gingerly tiptoe across. Even
though the Olympic sports don’t profit for the university, alumni would
be very upset if specific teams were cut.
The real issue is (as usual) money. The Seahawks would have to
privately campaign for money from alumni and student fees. Local
taxpayers may be asked to contribute. UNCW hasn’t even polled their
alumni base to see what kind of response they would receive.
your mind ten years down the road. UNCW could be a huge state rival for
ECU at the Division I-A level. The rivalry makes more sense for ECU
than any current conference affiliates. The similar state schools could
develop into one of the best rivalries in the state.
Building a successful program from scratch can be done. Obviously, USF
is the exception. Ten years ago, the Bulls had just started their
program. Now a decade later, USF controls its own destiny towards a BCS
Granted, UNCW doesn’t have a pro facility down the road like Tampa.
Seahawk officials would have to build a stadium to support the team.
Upwards costs for a smaller level stadium can be $35 million. UCF,
which recently announced their plans for an on-campus stadium, budgeted
$65 million solely for the facility. But if UNCW has the means, the way
is the easy part.
Old Dominion is in the process of building their football team. The
Monarchs polled their alumni and hired consultants. A Board of Trustees
voted unanimously to start a team in 2009. ODU is currently raising a
required $8 million in endowments by June, 1 2006. Most importantly,
ODU realized how important a football team was to connecting their
alumni and stimulating the local economy.
ECU’s home football games are estimated to generate $40 million for the
local economy. Wilmington, a port city based on tourism, could solicit
more than little Greenville and a lack of leisure entertainment.
As of now, ECU and Coastal Carolina are the two closest collegiate
football programs to Wilmington. A football team could quell some of
the local fans’ interest. It could also prove as a forum for old
friends to unite.
If UNCW were a solidified Division I-A team, they would severely hamper
ECU’s thunder in the eastern portion of the state. While the rivalry
would be a great benefit, ECU would have to work even harder to coax
high school athletes to Greenville.
How can ECU compete with the beach as a recruiting tool? Ask any
red-blooded student whether he likes Wilmington or Greenville better.
Pirate fans probably wouldn’t like the answer. Doing homework on the
beach is much more appealing than any sell that ECU coaches could give.
Unfortunately for UNCW, the student open forum never agreed upon any
dates toward establishing a football team. But it did make headlines
and ignite discussion, which just might be enough.
Thought of the Week
the last time that the basketball team had more known recruits than the
football team in November? Four men’s recruits signed in the early
period while three women inked their commitments. As of now, only three
football verbals have been made public. Time to panic?