Colleges Continue to Add Football Teams

Eight schools set to add football programs in 2011, creating a total of 36 schools fielding new…

Georgia (Jun 22, 2011) — The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) highlighted today that eight new college football teams are set to take the field for the first time this season with 17 more programs set to launch between 2012 and 2014. …


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Eight schools set to add football programs in 2011, creating a total of 36 schools fielding new gridiron teams in the span of six years.

Universities and colleges are adding football at all levels, and administrators have developed sound plans, ensuring the new programs address the unique financial, academic and long-term objectives of their respective schools. The 36 institutions, who have implemented firm plans during the past few years, coupled together the more than 20 schools with exploratory committees, create a clear and undeniable trend that presidents and trustees nationwide see the value of a football program as part of their overall academic mission.

The rationale for adding football varies at each institution, and all of the decision makers who helped develop a plan for launching a program explain that an in-depth study played a critical role in finding the right level of play and the proper financial balance. Small colleges may cite increasing enrollment and addressing gender imbalances while larger universities might highlight the role of football in raising the institution's profile and its ability to attract research grants. All mention creating a more vibrant on-campus community and connecting with alumni. …

A Natural Progression in the South

Founded in 1966 as a two-year school, Kennesaw State has experienced robust growth during the past five decades. The school gradually added bachelors, master's, and then doctoral degrees, and its current student body exceeds 23,000 with projections of 30,000 in the next ten years.

However, the university only has 4,000 beds on its campus, which is just 20 minutes north of Atlanta, Ga. Hoping to shed its reputation as a commuter school and build a more vibrant campus life, Kennesaw State impaneled an exploratory committee last year to examine the possibility of adding football.

Headed by the legendary football coach and Georgia athletics director Vince Dooley, the committee did extensive work, gathering input from students, faculty, staff, business leaders, and governmental leaders. Their work produced a positive report, suggesting that the school launch a scholarship program as a Football Championship Subdivision program.

"The primary driver behind us adding football is a large level of interest from our student body and the community," said Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp. "Football is king in the American South and having a football team tremendously heightens the visibility of an institution and in many cases the attractiveness of an institution as well."

Papp also cited the academic benefits of having a football program.

"We think that football program adds to the overall student experience at a university. And we believe that it demonstrably helps improve retention and progression rates for students as well. Students get more involved with the institution, so the students are more likely to stay in school and are more likely to concentrate on their academics so they can stay in school."

Papp explained that a few critical steps remain before the university will officially more forward with its plan. Specifically, the university needs to raise $8 to 12 million needed to build infrastructure for the program, which Papp said they fully intend to raise. Once that money is raised, the university will then submit its final business plan to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for ultimate approval.

"We have done the studies. So, we know the investment that it will take," said Kennesaw State athletics director Vaughn Williams. "It's about the brand and the university, so in essence it's an investment in the overall university. We're not thinking that we're going to make millions of dollars. We're looking to create an excellent program that is going to enhance everything that we do in the fiber of this university. It's bigger than football. Football is just another piece of the puzzle. We are going to raise the bar academically. And it's going to get more competitive to get into Kennesaw. "

An important step in the process came last year when the student body voted by 56 percent to increase athletics fees to support football by $100 per person each semester. The increase will annually raise approximately $5 million. Papp said the university's football budget will breakeven through a combination of the student fees, ticket sales, sponsorships and donations.

"We understand that very few institutions make money playing football. We don't want to lose money, however," said Papp. "We are going into football in a very slow and measured, well-thought-out and well-planned way. There is only one thing worse than a major university in the American South without a football team, and that's a major university in the American South with a football team that it can't afford. If we do football, we will be extremely fiscally responsible."

Kennesaw State plans to begin play in 2014 in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.


Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, the NFF Gridiron Clubs of New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles, and annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl, the Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, and releases the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings. Learn more at


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit