Fo, I love that statement by Pres K. Friendly, optimistic, and good humor.
FYI UNT contributes $8 million per year from institutional funds for operations (which is on top of student fees, gifts, athletic revenue, etc.) that is in the typical range for a have-not and about what we would need to do to play at the 1a level.
I'm going to question that number. We have a budget that is roughly $10 million with 14 sports. Arkansas State's budget is roughly $14 million for 16 sports.
But either way it is probably irrelevant what other schools. Had the proposal gone through from 2004, the student fee would have been raised to cover the costs of three new sports. Using the Nienas report as the source, we would have been short roughly $500,000. While those numbers are for both 1-AA and are not adjusted for inflation, the guarantee games the typical SBC team plays today pays out $1-1.3 million. Also factor in the payout for the playoffs that G5 schools would get is over a million for the worst performing conference (that hasn't been the Sun Belt the last two years) I don't think there would need to be more than one guarantee.
The key is the student fee. There were about 25,000 students enrolled in 2004. There are now 33,000, so that is also a greater revenue source. It also helps that right now, we have more athletic sponsors than at any other time. I don't know if the addition of football would bring on more, but it would make them disappear.
Now take this for what it is worth, a guy who isn't on the inside, but the biggest obstacle will be start-up costs. Equipment, uniforms, renovations, expansions, etc. Once the one-time costs are out of the way, then UTA will be alright budgetary speaking.