Friday, March 25, 2011

Cleveland State football: Plenty of patience, money required

It's been almost a year since a Cleveland State students' vote showed they were interested in football, but not so thrilled about paying for it with student fees.

Those who want to see the Vikings on the gridiron will probably be waiting many more years before toe meets ball on an inaugural kickoff. While CSU completes its search for a permanent athletic director, money has become a bigger issue.

The school is expecting to lose an estimated $15.6 million in state aid in the upcoming Ohio budget. Funding for the sports it fields now is enough of an issue, let alone floating a new sport that would require $11.5 million to $13.1 million in start-up fees.

The reasons for proposing a team aren’t going away, though. CSU is building new dorms to replace the now-vacant Viking Hall, and those rooms need occupants. Also, degree and course completion have become factors in how much state funding schools receive. CSU has so many part-time and commuter students that its graduation rate is affected by those who can’t finish in six years or give up. So it needs as many full-time students as it can get. About 100 full-time-student football players would be a start.

A football initiative would be similar to those at Notre Dame College and Lake Erie College, except that CSU isn’t planning to offer scholarship money to recruits. Once the start-up costs are covered, the school hopes the team would be sustained through student fees and revenue generated by the team.

Ideally, football would boost enrollment, give those new students who move into the dorms something to do on weekends in the fall, attract more people to the neighborhood being planned for north of Chester Avenue and boost the graduation rate while paying for itself.

Anyone have $13.1 million?

-       - Howard Primer

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