Plans for UNF football get sacked

Travis Gibson

Students won't be seeing Osprey football for at least five to 10 years.
Students won’t be seeing Osprey Football for at least five to 10 years.

UNF president John Delaney issued an email to students informing them the university will not pursue a football program in the near future.

“After much financial examination, we have concluded that we just can’t make [a football program] work,” Delaney said in his email.

Delaney went on to say UNF explored the feasibility within the budget constraints, and the numbers simply didn’t add up.

The president restated that a Florida university needs enrollment of about 25,000 students to properly support football, and if UNF continues to grow, football is probably inevitable for UNF at some point.

After in-depth analysis, UNF determined that football is just not a part of the near future at the University, Delaney said.

“We will continue to develop the sports and recreation fields’ master plan in anticipation of long-term growth that will hopefully include Osprey football,” the email stated.

Vice President of Public Relations Sharon Ashton said the administration had a series of meetings to assess the feasibility of football at UNF.

“We started adding in these numbers – travel fees and associated travel costs, how much it costs to join a conference, scholarships, facilities,” Ashton said. “The numbers just kept adding up.”

Ashton said UNF couldn’t pay for football with student fees based on the current size of the student population. UNF has approximately 16,500 enrolled students.

“That doesn’t mean there will never be football at UNF, what it means is not right this moment,” Ashton said. “We’re looking at probably at least five, maybe 10 years out.”

Sharon Ashton, Vice President of Public Relations, talk about UNF football.
Sharon Ashton, Vice President of Public Relations, talk about UNF football.

Ashton said that to spread the cost of a football team so it wouldn’t be too expensive per student, enrollment would need to be around 25,000. She said increasing enrollment would depend on the economy, state legislature and additional funding, but UNF’s admissions standards would not change regardless of football.

Student body president Carlo Fassi was not surprised by the announcement.

“Football, as a proposal was to some extent, dead on arrival,” Fassi said.

Title XI requirements, the current climate of the board of governer’s and overall costs were all factors in UNF’s choice to postpone the implementation of a football program according to Fassi.

Fassi said he has been provided with detailed preliminary costs of bringing football to UNF.

“It’s not doable now but when enrollment goes up, when we have more support from the state, its very doable,” Fassi said. “Right now we wouldn’t even have the money to build facilities.”

Delaney assured students that when the time is right, the university would reevaluate the possibility of football.

Email Travis Gibson at [email protected]