Football at VCU
Football – quarterbacks, line backs, running backs, field goals, touchdowns, and the roar of the crowd – nothing could be better. Football is fast becoming American’s greatest pastime. There’s something exhilarating about the game and the excitement is catching. Many universities around the U.S. are eager to start, revive or supplement their football programs because they are aware of the positive effects football has on their sports program. Football brings publicity to the school, increases enrollment, increases school funds, promotes school spirit, enhances the school’s music program and promotes school ranking as a Division 1A team. Of course not everyone enjoys football but they are in the minority and the benefits of having a football team far outweigh the negatives. A football program at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will benefit the university, as well as, the city of Richmond.
College/University football teams bring additional publicity to the school. Publicity is of value to the average college or university because it prompts interest in the university from parents and students. When people see your school spot-lighted on TV or in magazines, it draws them in. “The current university president, Eugene P. Trani, has been quoted as saying that he will not allow football to come to VCU under his watch due to the extra cost” (www.en.wikipedia.org). Mr. Trani’s negative statement brought tons of publicity to VCU. Adding football to the sports program at VCU will bring even more publicity – positive publicity. Football increased publicity for Rutgers University. “Football Victory Puts a Glow on Rutgers and New York” was the headline the New York Times after the Rutgers had a football comeback (www.alacartelexisnexis.com). That was just one article and does not include news coverage.
Publicity leads to increased enrollment. Rutgers is a prime example of what football will do for a school. After the success of their football program publicity increased and their enrollment significantly increased. However, VCU is an extraordinary university with just about every other sport available to its 30,000 plus student population. Yet, football can significantly add to that population. “Hits on the undergraduate admission website are up nearly 34% from last year…in the last two weeks, 3,600 seats were added to campus bus tours for perspective students and all have been filled” (www.fanblogs.com/rutgers). Football will get students excited about coming to VCU. Excited students equal increase in enrollment.
Increased enrollment means increase school funds but this is not the only way football adds to a school’s resources. The university will have the opportunity to sale hats, t-shirts, mugs, etc. to fans at games and around campus. Every student and fan wearing their VCU football paraphernalia with pride means money added to university coffers. Funds will also come to the university via alumni donations. Once students graduate from VCU, they will have another reason to return. Alumni are known for supporting their schools’ sport programs. However, VCU already has money coming in the form of their other sport paraphernalia and alumni who love VCU’s current sport program. Yet, if VCU adds football, that means more money. It happened at Rutgers University. “More money is coming into the school…donor pledges are up 9% from last year (www.fanblogs.com/rutgers).
Ticket sales are another area that will bring in funds for the university. For instance, if VCU has a stadium that seats 15,000 people and they charge $5 per seat and every seat is filled for the game, the profit will be 75,000 minus the utilities and rental fee, if applicable. That profit does not include paraphernalia sales and food sales. However, VCU has many sports that can bring home game profits. Yet, a football game will bring more revenue. “Success on the gridiron usually translates into more revenue for a team…” (www.newsinfo.nd.edu).
Having a football program is not just about the money. It promotes school spirit, which is very important. If students are excited about what’s happening on campus, they are more likely to stay on campus. Of course, people go to college to get an education but fun is a part of the learning experience. However, VCU is not known for its sports but for its medical program, arts program, social work program, and its health administration programs (www.en.wikipedia.org). Yet, the height of the university’s spirit is found in its sport programs and football will bring that extra something to VCU program. Students on a spirit filled high means students are completing their degrees at VCU and not transferring to a different university with a great football team.
Football will also help support the music program. VCU will provide music before home games and at half-time events. Students in the music program will have more opportunities to practice their craft and gain hands-on-experience. However, VCU students get hands-on-experience on campus. Yet, playing in front on a professor or a small audience is nothing compared to the rush and experience of playing in front of a crowd of thousands of fans. This will provide an opportunity of promotion for the school as well as the music department.
The addition of football will enhance VCU’s standing as a Division 1A university. Division 1A football is made up of the larger colleges and universities. To fall into the Division 1A category, you have to have 15,000 people in attendance at a home game twice in a rolling 2-year period. With VCU’s enrollment of 30,000 students, as well as, the population of the city of Richmond, VCU is well able to make that mark. Of course, there are three other divisions for smaller colleges/universities or for those schools who have lower attendance rates at their football games. Division 1AA is for slightly smaller schools and Division II and III are for “even smaller schools” (www.fanblogs.com). The benefit of being a division 1A school is the publicity offered. The NCAA, whose sole purpose is to encourage college participation in sports, comes to Division 1 schools to take pictures and talk to players and coaches (www.ncaa.org). The pictures and interviews are featured on the NCAA website. However, VCU is already a Division 1A team in basketball, soccer and baseball, to name a few. VCU’s has a good Division 1A standing and there is really no advantage to adding it to the sports program. Yet, with the addition of football to its sports program, VCU will receive a greater amount of publicity from NCAA and will receive a greater amount of Division 1A perks. Being a Division 1 school means extra grant money and stipends (www.fanblogs.com). The addition of football will only enhance these perks at VCU.
Richmond is an ideal place to have a college football team. VCU is located in downtown Richmond. Richmond also has perfect football weather – football is a fall sport and the city’s climate is ideal. Lastly, Richmond has the perfect stadium to hold football games. University of Richmond Stadium “…is now used by the Richmond Kickers for soccer and the University of Richmond for American Football. It is owned by the city of Richmond…built in 1929 and seats approximately 22,000 people” (www.en.wikipedia.org).
VCU football will not only benefit the university, it will also benefit the city of Richmond. The team will help promote an increase of Richmond’s 5 million annual visitors. Football fans will increase revenue by visiting tourist sights during championships, staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, buying Richmond products, renting cars, etc. An influx of fans will also help the city financially.
There are many benefits to adding football to VCU’s sports program. However, all these benefits come with a price. Many division 1 teams pay their coaches millions of dollars. “Head coaches at NCAA top-level schools are making an average of $950,000 per year. At least 42 of the 119 division 1A coaches are earning $1 million or more this year” (www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football). Yet, to be the best, the best is required. Top coaches are not going to come to VCU to coach its football team without some incentive. For years coaches have been offered perks that do not involve just money. Still, with the added revenue from ticket sales and paraphernalia sales, along with the impact a football team will have on the city, profit will be gained even with the cost of a coach.
When looking at the pros and cons of adding football to the VCU sports program, the good outweighs the bad. Yes, football is expensive but cost is paid in full by increased enrollment, ticket sales, and increased alumni donations. The increase in school spirit and the enhancement of the school’s music program are additional perks. Not only will it benefit the school but it will also benefit the city. Tourism to the city of Richmond will increase as a result of VCU’s adding a football team to its sport program. In addition to tourism, Richmond’s revenue will also increase. Since Virginia does not have a professional football team, Virginia Commonwealth University can fill a much-needed void in the area and in the state.
Berkowitz, Steve & McCarthy, Michael. 2006. Retrieved April 10, 2007 from http//www.usatoday.com/sports.
Donahue, Kevin. 2006. Retrieved April 10, 2007 from http//www.fanblogs.com/Rutgers.
Fahim, Kareem. 11/11/06. Football Victory Puts a Glow on Rutgers and New York. Retrieved April 10, 2007 from http//www.alacartelexisnexis.com.
Gage, Jack & Schwartz, Peter. 12/20/06. Success on the Gridiron. Retrieved April 10, 2007 from http//www.newsinfo.nd.edu.
2007. Retrieved April 10, 2007 from http//www.ncaafootball.com.
2007. Retrieved April 10, 2007 from http//www.en.wikipedia.org.