Nearly 40 years ago, budget deficits led the university to cut its football program, but a resolution aimed at whether students would like to see it return was introduced during a meeting of the Student Senate on Tuesday.
At the 1985 convention, former UTA president Wendell Nedderman announced the decision to cancel the program, citing a budget shortfall caused in part by low attendance and a lack of revenue, he previously reported. Shorthorn reports.
Resolution 22-21, “Once and for All, Football” wants a referendum during upcoming campus elections to ask students whether the university should raise intercollegiate athletics fees by $500 annually to create an NCAA Division I collegiate football program , depending on the decision.
Currently, Intercollegiate Athletics fees are $8.50 per credit hour, up to a maximum of $115, according to the university’s website.
As of fall 2022, UTA had an enrollment of 40,990 students, Shorthorn previously reported. This makes it one of the only universities of its size in the country without an American football program, the decision states.
Student government released a survey asking students for their thoughts on bringing NCAA Division I football back to UTA and posted the results on Instagram. Out of 625 answers, 92.8% answered yes and 7.2% answered no.
In the same poll, when asked if they would be willing to pay an additional $400 to $500 per year to set up, 76.24% of 627% answered yes. Those who answered “no” were then given other financial ranges to choose from and asked how much they were willing to pay. 57.31% of the 171 students answered “none”.
Passing this resolution does not mean it will be implemented, said Dylan Buck, vice president of the student body and author of the resolution. Instead, the resolution hopes to gauge interest by allowing the student body to vote on whether or not a college American football team is something they are interested in.
If a U.S. soccer team is created, Buck said, another team for women-identified athletes, such as women’s soccer or women’s swimming, would also have to be created.
Although College of Engineering senator Matthew Swingler supports the decision, he said he was concerned about the cost of the program. The basketball team showed that there are good athletic opportunities at the university, he said, but spending money on a Division I team can drive students away.
This isn’t the first time that reviving the American football team has been discussed. During the UTA Staff Advisory Council Chairman’s Forum in 2018, former UTA President Vistasp Karbhari spoke about the possibility of the program returning. He said it would cost upwards of $150 million, increasing tuition fees for students, which, according to him, he didn’t want. Shorthorn reports.
Two decisions were also killed during the meeting.
Resolution 22-13, “embracing bag replacement,” called for the university to install and/or repair hooks in bathroom stalls. He was killed because Geoff Johnson, Director of Maintenance Operations and Special Projects, told the Special Affairs Committee that the resolution was not necessary because his maintenance workers could fix it.
Resolution 22-12, “Your Objection, Direction,” required the university to update its map guides to better reflect the buildings and improve legibility. Likewise, Johnson told the committee that this is something they are currently working on. The reason why the directories weren’t updated previously was due to COVID-19.
During an open forum at the start of the meeting, Swingler offered his take on last week’s UTA chapter of the Turning Point USA event with speaker Jeff Younger, a former candidate for the Texas House of Representatives known for anti-transgender rhetoric. Swingler demanded that whoever permitted the event apologize and be held accountable.
The event resulted in a demonstration by the Student Progressive Union outside the university center, as previously reported Shorthorn reports.
“Accountability must be taken and held immediately,” Swingler said.