|Big feasabilty study about moving up to Division I status at my alma mater released
||[Aug. 2nd, 2009|02:26 pm]
Ever since Georgia Southern restarted its football program in 1981, there has been a strong and steady under current of people who want to see us move to Division 1 and compete every week with the likes of UGA, Auburn, Florida State, etc. We have done very well in our current Football Championship Subdivision (previously Division 1-AA), winning six national championships and numerous Southern Conference championships. But the thought of our 18,000 student University nestled in the relatively low population and low income area of South Georgia competing against institutions with double or more the number of students and much greater community resources to draw on is a daunting prospect.
The study seems to support my belief that Georgia Southern has the administration and coaching leadership and recruiting power to support moving to Division I football, but lags behind in the number and generosity of athletic boosters compared to other schools. And while we would probably attract an adequate number of fans to a newly enlarged stadium, a large percentage of them would not be willing to see an increase of more than five dollars in ticket prices.
But the real kicker is that while Georgia Southern's football program would probably do relatively well, the rest of our athletic program would suffer in comparison. The increased revenues from football would be hard pressed to offset the added expenses of maintaining Division I athletics in all sports. And if the economy remains bad, there would be a much better chance of things getting overall worse for university sports rather than better.
To me, the report supports my belief than moving up to Division I would be like becoming a little fish in a big pond after being a big fish in a medium-sized pond. I don't think South Georgia has the resources at this time necessary to push Georgia Southern into the big leagues. I think we should continue to concentrate on being a great regional university rather than risk becoming a mediocre or even lackluster national institution. Hopefully we will have better prospects in the future.