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Initially I felt this was just another repetition of the “eat your damn peas!” cliché’ we have been hearing for years. Then it occurred to me that maybe he really means it. Perhaps if attendance in the grandstand sports were to surge, maybe President Karbhari and the other UTA leaders would feel motivated to work on giving football a chance.
Quite apart from the question of fans “earning” football at UTA, there are compelling reasons for us to add football. As Fall activities go, UTA is a bridesmaid, having only volleyball and a few non-spectator sports to occupy the semester, while our neighbors at UNT, TCU, SMU and even Tarleton State get to participate in the excitement of Saturday football games. For alumni and UTA neighbors, there is a huge opportunity being squandered to open this “window” of participation whereby they can become UTA Mavericks fans by attending football games. The visibility and opportunities to bring favor and development to the campus are simply being wasted.
But putting all these arguments aside, I would like to focus on the essential question that is raised.
Assuming the president is serious, how much of a quantifiable increase in attendance at the existing athletic events is needed?
It would make sense to set specific goals. For example, UTA’s average attendance at men’s basketball games in 2013 was 1968. Texas State, one of our peer universities, had 1702 average attendance in 2013. The Sun Belt average was 2924. **
What would be an appropriate attendance goal in this and our other grandstand sports to put us on the threshold of football?
Setting achievable attendance goals with a potential reward of football in the near future would motivate and energize students, alumni and community supporters. I hope the President, AD and other campus leaders will give this suggestion some serious thought.
Q: A student suggested that adding football to campus athletics would bring more revenue to UTA. (President Karhari’s answer) A: Beginning a football program would be very costly and force students to pay more in tuition and fees, Karbhari said. Students should be supporting the teams UTA currently has, he said. “Until we completely support our current teams, until we make sure we’re there at all of their games, until we make sure that we really cheer them on, because when they play, they play for us, it’s hardly appropriate for us to start a new team until all these teams are completely supported,” Karbhari said.