Football Dream Enters Planning Stages

After a second football forum on Jan. 7, A.S. President Utsav Gupta is writing an official proposal for a football referendum — slated to run on the Spring Quarter A.S. election ballot — in hopes of starting a football team at UCSD.

Gupta spearheaded the referendum after a student survey last spring showed that — of the 5,174 students surveyed — 72.65 percent said they supported the idea of a Division-II intercollegiate football team at UCSD.

According to Gupta, an annual budget of $1 to $2 million — drawn from student fees — would be necessary to support the team, requiring $20 to $30 from each student per quarter.

Gupta said he is working with administrators from the Student Affairs Office to create an itemized budget specifying the costs of a football team, as well as with Chancellor Marye Anne Fox and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Penny Rue to develop a written proposal — which he will submit to the A.S. Council for review by Week Five of this quarter. The draft will list the setbacks of a UCSD football team and offer solutions to the major arguments against the creation of a program — some of which include funding and the logistics of expanding the current Triton Track and Field Stadium to a regulation football field.

The proposal will also address Title IX — a law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in any educational program. The law requires an equal number of men and women’s sports teams at a public educational institution. It would either force the university to cut a few men’s teams or install additional women’s sports teams — such as lacrosse, field hockey or golf — to balance the numbers.

According to the survey taken last Spring Quarter, although 72.65 percent of students said they would support the team, 35.59 percent said they were not willing to pay fees for a football program.

Warren College senior Stacey Hunsucker said she would not pay to support a football team.

“Although I think having a football team may initially be good for school spirit, I don’t think it would be a good investment in the long run, because students may lose interest if the team isn’t good,” Hunsucker said.

However, Gupta is convinced that the benefits of having a football team would outweigh the costs.

“Football can be a great way to enhance a campus’ public image,” Gupta said. “It is especially important as we compete in the harsher economic climate with other campuses that have wider national recognition due to the quality of their athletic program.”

Like all referendums, if the A.S. Council authorizes the proposal, it will then be passed on for approval by the administration as well as the UC Office of the President. If all parties accept the proposal, the referendum will be placed on the Spring Quarter A.S. election ballot.

Readers can contact Kelly Kim at [email protected].

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