I'm sorry not to have responded sooner, but I wanted to clear up some potentially erroneous assumptions.
Thanks for responding Duck, I always value your opinion, even when we disagree. Allow me to do the same and clear up what I feel are some assumptions, as some of the research I have done recently contradicts your statement.
[quote]Arlington State College was a large junior college in the early 50's. Their athletic teams included football, basketball, track & field, tennis and golf, that I know of. Later on, we got swimming, baseball, and at times had bowling, rifle, pistol and fencing. Any money to pay for those programs came from football tickets sold or institutional funds. C.R. "Cheena" Gilstrap built a very competitive football program that began to win championships, culminating in the national JC championships in 1956 and 1957, when they won back-to-back Junior Rose Bowls. This athletic success served to put ASC and the ASC Rebels on the map, which in turn helped make it possible for Arlington and ASC leaders to successfully mount a campaign for 4-year status. Far from bleeding the other sports dry, football made Arlington athletics possible, and arguably helped pave the way for our current status as a 4-year university.
I think you are giving football way to much credit. Academics and athletics are not connected. I believe you give way too much credit for football being the reason we are a four year university. Many Universities make that jump irrespective of their athletic programs.
Also, times have changed. I can't speak specifically about the era you mention, but today, football is rarely a money maker. Two years ago, only 20 teams of the 250 or so D1 schools made a profit. Now that includes direct expenses and revenue. However, I have to wonder about ancillary benefits claims, like increased exposure. North Texas didn't drop their program like we did. However, we have seen similar enrollment growth and have similar national academic profiles. That raises doubts in my mind about claims of indirect benefits of football.
[quote]Despite Gilstrap's success, ASC/UTA never had enough institutional, external or ticket revenue funding to really prosper in all the sports that the college sponsored, and remember: these were only men's sports. The one major institutional source of funding that helped keep programs afloat into the late 60s and early 70s was the Student Activity Fee.
This became controversial and some campus organizations politically maneuvered to take the SAF money out of athletics. At the same time, UTA found itself embroiled in a nasty mascot controversy, anti-war protests and the introduction of women's athletic programs. So during that "perfect storm" of controversy, budget cuts and a (post-Gilstrap) losing football, the money "pie" got smaller and the demands greater. To stay at the Division 1 level, the school had to offer a minimum number of sports, which may explain why we had rifle, pistol, fencing and bowling.
This wasn't uncommon across the country. ACU and Trinity, both founders of the SLC faced similar circumstances and made different choices. Other schools may have made choices that UTA would end up making.
This was the period where the have's and have-nots as we know them today sorted themselves out. The Ivy League used to be a national contended in all sports. After this time period, they are now content with competition amongst themselves, for example.
[quote]We probably had barely enough funding to keep football and the other sports going on a shoestring, but I think that was typical in the SLC.
I'm not sure I agree based on the results of the SLC in the late '60's, '70's and early '80's.
In football, the SLC champ finished undefeated three times and had one loss six times. They were 2-5 in bowl games and had McNeese made a field goal in 1980, it would have been three.
Lamar and La Tech made sweet sixteen runs in the '80's. La Tech won a woman's national championship in 1982 (and again in 1988). Monroe made a Final Four appearance in 1985.
Arkansas St had several track and field individual national champions.
In the '60's, Arkansas St made a College World Series run and in the '70's. Lamar amd La Tech won several tournament games in the '70's.
[quote]Our huge disadvantage was inadequate facilities.
Maybe, but for their era, they weren't bad. The facilities arms race really didn't begin until the '90's. Texas Hall was always a bit of a struggle, but it wasn't a liability for quite a while. In the SLC, UTA was a pretty good place to play.
[quote]But by 1981 we had a decent football stadium and we were putting competitive teams on the field.
In 1980, we were 3-8 overall and 3-2 in the SLC. In 1981, 6-5, 4-1. 1982 was 3-8, 1-4. In 1983, 5-6 and 2-4. In 1984, we were 7-4 and 4-2. Our last year was 4-6-1 overall and 2-3-1 in conference. Two winning seasons in six years isn't that competitive. In conference, only three of those six years had winning records.
Maybe 1986 would have been different, but we will never know and any conversation would just be speculative.
[quote]Far from bleeding the other sports dry, football showed some promise to rebuild the following that UTA had previously enjoyed.
Maybe, but using just the portion of the '80's with an intact football program, the rest of the athletic programs doesn't back this claim up. This period had seven teams in the SLC. Volleyball finished first or tied for first all four times.
Men's basketball had a second, third, a sixth and three last place 7th finishes. Women's basketball was 2, 4, 4 and 5.
Baseball was 3/6, 5/6, t2/6, 2/7, 4/7 and 2/7, the best mens program. Softball had three seconds and a tie for first.
Men's tennis had two 5's, two 6's and two 7's. Women's had to 6's and two 7's.
Golf had one finish in the top half and two last place finishes.
Combining men's and women's cross country and both indoor and outdoor track and field (), they only had 8 top half finishes in 15 seasons.
The only clear defined period where we saw a distinct rise athletic performance was post football. Again, part of that may be due to women's programs just coming into the fold (our women's teams have always been competitive). Some may be due to the fact that we traded Arkansas St, La Tech Louisiana-Laffayette and Lamar (for 11 years) and traded them in for teams from D-II. But, to me, the numbers clearly state, with football, we were a sub-par, losing athletic profile. After football, we are a competitive mid-major in most sports.
[quote]Right or wrong, President Nedderman decided to pull the plug on the football program after the 1985 season. Some of our most ardent supporters left and have never returned. 3/4 of the Maverick Club members refused to renew their memberships.
I find that sad. I support my alma mater, regardless of what they offer. If they dropped baseball, I would be highly upset, as I feel that is our most competitve team sport nationally. But I would still support the rest of the programs.
The adding of orange to the uni's has made me unhappy, but UTA is still my team.
[quote]The decision to kill football was based on the assumption that it would never get better and that it was losing money. Killing football and swimming were regrettable decisions that have been a continuing source of embarrassment to the university, but as you have implied, it did result in more funding for the surviving athletic programs.
Why is it an embarassment? I don't think Butler, Wichita St, Marquette, Gonzaga, etc. are embarassed over dropped football programs.
[quote]I just want to hammer home my point that football did not "bleed" the other sports at UTA.
I think the numbers would disagree. In 22 seasons with football, there were a total of 9 conference champions, only six outside of football (two if volleyball's four a discounted). In the first year after disbanding the football program, there were two. By the completion fourth year after football, we already had ten total conference champions.
[quotes]There would not have been those other sports programs if football had not first been successful.
Is there anything that can back this claim up or is it speculation from that time period? I wonder about this claim because collegiate athletic programs are fairly ubiquitous, even on down to the junior college level. I have a hard time with the claim that we would not have an athletic program if football didn't win, when DCCCD teams (they are non-scholarship JuCo) have basketball, baseball, soccer and volleyball programs.
I think a better claim would be we wouldn't be where we are now, not we wouldn't have an athletic program.
[quote]As for the more fully-funded nature of the other sports after football, you need to give credit to President Witt, Pete Carlon and the students who voted to set up the student athletics fee about ten years ago. If that referendum had failed, UTA may have been forced to drop to Division II or III.
I don't disagree that Witt and Carlon deserve credit for establishing the athletics fee. However, Witt didn't start at UTA until 1995. By that time, we had already achieved 26 conference championships in seven different sports. That ship had already been righted and funded before Witt. I don't want to discount what Witt did, becuase it was huge being able to give a steady stream of dedicated revenue, independent of the general fund to the athletics program.
Without running an complete statistical analysis, it seems to me the only variable that is consistent with our improving athletic conference performance is football was disbanded.