Kennesaw State football gets the green light
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
February 13, 2013 12:00 AM | 6728 views | 12 12 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kennesaw State University President Dr. Daniel Papp (MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
Kennesaw State University President Dr. Daniel Papp (MDJ Staff/Laura Moon)
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No more delays. Football is coming to Kennesaw State University.

After tabling its vote last month on KSU’s proposed $100-per-student athletic fee increase, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia gave its OK Wednesday. The fee increase was proposed to fund the introduction of new sports to campus — most notably, a football team.

With the Board of Regents’ approval, university President Dan Papp said while there is still an outside chance that football could begin as early as 2014, the fall of 2015 is the most realistic start time.

It’s been a long wait for football, which has been in the works at Kennesaw State since as early as 2008. Now, it’s coming to fruition.

“This program has been in the planning process for a long time,” Papp said. “We had a very, very orderly set of things that we had to do — milestones, I guess, is a good thing to call it. We passed one milestone, moved on to the next one and this was the final milestone — except for hiring a football coach and getting a staff in place, and getting a team in place. We’re very excited by this.”

Kennesaw State organized a 33-person football exploratory committee in December 2009, headed by former University of Georgia coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. The committee organized a campus-wide survey, with 55.5 percent of the student body voting in favor of football and 32 percent against.

Raising the money


The exploratory committee gave KSU the go-ahead to proceed with its plans in September of 2010, and the external fundraising for the program began.

From that point, the university had to raise between $7 million and $10 million for the football program to be approved, a goal that was reached with the help of a private donor the university intends to identify during a news conference today inside the KSU Convocation Center.

The proposed athletic student fee, up to $252 per student per semester, will help the school raise the $3.5 million annual budget that’s required to start a football program. The fee is expected to go into effect this fall.

KSU administrators met with the Board of Regents on Jan. 8 to get final approval of the fee increase, but the board’s finance and business committee tabled the vote in order to further research fee proposal considerations.

There were no such obstacles in Wednesday’s meeting.

KSU was hoping to get football off the ground as early as 2014, but it would be difficult to field a team 20 months from now with only one recruiting class.

Athletic director Vaughn Williams declined to go into specifics regarding the timetable of putting a coaching staff in place. Those details, as well as finding the right football conference, will be discussed at today’s news conference.

Williams said he could “never think ahead” in terms of putting together a list of candidates.

“Right now, I’m going to savor this for about an hour, or however long it takes,” he said.

Football to aid women’s sports at KSU


Getting a football program also requires Kennesaw State to fulfill Title IX requirements. The approved student fee will also aid in starting women’s programs from a group of candidates that includes cheerleading, crew, sand volleyball and equestrian. Increasing the number of scholarship in women’s lacrosse and track/cross country is also part of the Title IX strategic plan.

Also in the university’s planning stages is finding a new conference affiliation.

The Atlantic Sun, with which the university has been affiliated since becoming an NCAA Division I program in 2005, does not sponsor football. That leaves KSU to pursue potential affiliations with leagues such as the Southern, Big South or Ohio Valley conferences — all part of the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision.

“I love to be in a conference that’s in the South,” Williams said. “I think that is very important for us — very important for our alumni, very important financially — for travel and those type of things. The Big South, Southern Conference and Ohio Valley seem to be the best and most natural. We have to see what’s out there.”

The football team, which would provide a full allotment of scholarships right away, will share the 8,300-seat KSU Stadium with the women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams.
Comments
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The Big Dawg
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February 14, 2013
I love it. Now if our so called county leaders can think ahead, there might be an opportunity to make this even bigger. KSU and Cobb County should speak with Arthur Blank about moving the Falcons to a new stadium on the KSU campus. Maybe we can get the Chick-Fil-A bowl as well and turn it into a real attraction. Dream Big Cobb County Leadership!!!
westsideRB
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February 14, 2013
I am an alumni of KSU and feel this is a wonderful addition to the university. If you don't like football then don't go to the games. I am sure there are many things in the tuition that only some benefit from. Forget the money that it costs, look at the money it brings in. Just ask any other school what they would do now without a football program. Lose boosters, lose students, lose local businesses, etc. Too many negative people, bunch of complainers
Be Careful
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February 14, 2013
Nobody says "Why does UGA have football?"

Nobody says "Why does Alabama have football?"

You have to start somewhere.

KSU is the 3rd largest university in the state.

Over 3,000 students live on campus and more dorms are being built.

College sports is a business that provides revenue to the schools. Ask UGA. They just gave the coach a $400,000 raise, he's now making over $3 million a year. There's a reason for that. The football program is valuable to the school.

Just because KSU hasn't had a football program up to this point, that is no reason they shouldn't now start one.

There is a wealth of football talent in Cobb COunty high schools. Many of those students may want to stay close to home if they have a chance to play at KSU.

And no, no brand new team is going to come out of the gate with a winning season. But like I said, yo have to start somewhere.
Name Change
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February 14, 2013
They need to change their mascot. I am an alum and even I have to say it is difficult to cheer for a team named the Owls.
Brian30101
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February 14, 2013
GSU is an overated vocational school, that's why football is failing there.
KSUVOICE
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February 14, 2013
The problem with Kennesaw State is that it had no pageantry or college atmosphere. That began changing with the move to DI. Football was the next step that was desperately wanted by Alumni and current students. They all want that pride. The football program will bring notoriety to Cobb County and Kennesaw State. Like everything the program will have to be well managed, but it will have an immediate impact on the students, Alumni, and businesses in the area.

Go Owls!
Owl98
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February 14, 2013
Very exciting! When will season tickets go on sale? This is exactly what the 3rd largest university in the state needs. Not every one cares to sit in a stadium with 80,000 people (most who are intoxicated) watch "hot dog" athletes try to make a name for themselves. I'd much rather watch athletes who love the game give their all. Just my opinion. BRING IT ON!
anonymous
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February 13, 2013
A money pit. The students do not support the other sports as it is. Why will football be any different? How much money is GSU making on it now?
anonymous
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February 13, 2013
I think a high school game may also be more exiting with a larger number of fans.
FumbleToday
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February 13, 2013
Nothing too exciting here, just another football team. The excitement and attendance will fade after the first year when the students realize that watching UGA games in a 100,000 seat stadium is more exciting than watching an FCS school play in front of 5,000. Just my opinion!
Touchdown Dan
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February 13, 2013
This is great news.

Now there is a reason to visit Kennesaw. Yay!!!
ECP
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February 13, 2013
Exactly- and the student get nailed by a Board of Regents and egos of KSU administration that think that it matters. This is for them, not the students. If so, they wouldn't raise tuition, and disguise it as a fee. How about those that want football pay for it? Dan Papp will boost his ego a bit with this. Notice that nothing the AD and President say is related to how it will help students.
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