USI needs a football team

Jerry McCartney

The fall season is underway for USI Athletics, yet the university still lacks one thing: a football program.

Of the university’s top performers are the women’s golf team, the men’s and women’s track and field teams and the Screaming Eagles baseball team (coming off a NCAA Division II National Championship in 2014).

All of these teams have one thing in common: they don’t bring the revenue the university could see by implementing a football program into the works.

In fact, the city of Evansville spends more money and focuses more on high school football in the local area because that is the most entertaining and competitive form of the sport in the local area.

Though the university supports all of its athletic teams with strong school spirit, the university is ultimately at a major loss without a football program.

One might argue, “What are we really missing out on by not having a football program here at USI?”

The answer is simple: Revenue, student involvement opportunities, publicity and a major fall sport.

Our athletic department could increase its revenue over the next ten years by sporting a football team through ticket sales and enrollment, among many other contributions. The campus appeal would be dramatically improved in the eyes of potential students looking to further their academic career at USI.

A large number of students flee to their hometowns on Friday nights because they feel campus becomes boring once they have completed their studies for the week. A Saturday night football game is just what the university needs to keep students on campus, and keep them involved.

But why doesn’t USI already have a football program with its extremely increased popularity since it opened in 1965? It can’t be from a tight budget. The university spent $16.5 million on a theater project in 2012 that will only seat 350 upon completion. It can’t be because of space issues because the university has plenty of wooded area on their property.

Yes, the initial plans for a football program at USI would amount to a hefty dollar sign that could potentially set the university back, especially after the construction of the new Teaching Theater, but it has to make the tax payers wonder what the university’s priorities are when it comes to the return on their investment.

USI claims to be the institution for opportunity but we are all missing out on an amazing opportunity on campus with the lack of a football program and the local residents of Evansville are too. It is true that USI is one of the most affordable institutions in the state but at what cost?

Students choose to attend USI for a four year college experience, but the university is not offering that in full.  If students want to bring a major fall sport to the university, then they need to take action. The university does not seem to feel we need this attribution to the college experience but they are very wrong.