The possibility of adding a football program at MVNU is creating plenty of conversation across campus.
A football feasibility task force met for the second time on Oct. 27 to discuss the possibility of adding the sport to campus. So far, the campus has expressed “real interest — and caution,” MVNU President Dr. Henry Spaulding said.
The discussion so far reflects “the mood” of the campus and “the seriousness of the decision,” Spaulding said.
Reactions have been genuine, with people showing excitement, but also asking hard questions about cost and what a football program might do to the MVNU culture.
Spaulding also has been forward about concerns that a football program would “introduce a type of athlete we haven’t had here” in the past.
Members of the task force heard about comments from colleague at other institutions which added football but “wish they had never done it.”
Many students said they also are hesitant about how football would affect campus culture.
Senior Ashley Gingerich said a football program, although a nice thought, could bring too many people to the University for the wrong reasons.
“I would love the football game experience,” Gingerich said, “but it would be up to the coaches to recruit players for quality rather than talent.”
Junior Christian Bacon said he would go to football games, but still questions if it’s a good idea.
“There is the possibility of losing the current culture on campus because of the typical aggressive stereotype that comes with football,” Bacon said.
The expense is also a concern to students, who have questioned the cost for scholarships, increased housing, equipment, travel, coaches and more. Spaulding has said a program will cost $400,000 a year to operate.
“I’m not sure if it is worth the cost,” Bacon said.
Still, many students are excited about the possibility of football.
Carl Jones Jr. said a football program would increase revenue, student population and athletic diversity.
“As long as you have a coaching staff supporting and mentoring athletes through the expectations, a football team can have a positive influence on the campus.” Jones said.
“Although it’s a more aggressive sport, the positives outweigh the negatives.”
Senior Kendra Wengerd agreed, pointing out that any sports team “can face the same risks of bringing a negative culture.”
The difference, Wengerd said, is “the football team’s influence would just be on a larger scale.”