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Dr. Brian Ralph, vice president for enrollment management and leader of the football feasibility task force investigating the possibility of adding a football program at Queens, provided a status report of the study in a March interview with The Queens Chronicle. He announced that students would not face additional fees if football were to be implemented.
If a football program were to be implemented, the normal fees paid by the approximately 120 new student-athletes enrolled would cover the operating cost, Ralph said, adding that the existing campus infrastructure could accommodate increased enrollment.
Although financial details are still being fine-tuned, no existing budgetary dollars would be redirected to football and philanthropic support would be needed to cover start-up costs. Ralph said the task force does not anticipate increased student fees in the event of adding football.
“In a lot of models at college campuses, student fees are used to offset the cost of football. That would not be the case here,” he said. “Tuition usually goes up a little every year … but if we were to add football, there wouldn’t be any additional penalty on the student body. The model that we want to build – and if we can’t build it, then we won’t do it – is for football to be self-sustaining so it won’t create an impact on the student body.”
As for popular opinion regarding the issue, gathered through an online survey, talks with the Board of Trustees and presentations to students and faculty, the task force found mixed levels of support.
“I was a little surprised at the strength of concern expressed by some alumni, but I was getting this feeling that students were a little more neutral about football,” said Ralph. “The staff were by far the most for having the football program.”
Issues that still need to be resolved before a final decision on football is made include determining financial feasibility, finding a location for practice and games and deciding if such a program would be a cultural fit with both the campus and the wider Charlotte community.
Queens was approached by officials from the South Atlantic Conference about the possibility of implementing a football program after joining last year. After a task force was assembled to conduct a feasibility study in conjunction with a consulting firm, the deadline to submit a recommendation was extended past the original date in late February.
The Queens Chronicle encourages ongoing discussion of the issue. You can share your opinion in the comments section, on social media or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.