UNF’s undefeated football team

Amelia Simmons, Police Reporter

UNF students have wondered for years if the school was ever going to start a football program, so Spinnaker decided to get to the bottom of it and the answer is more complicated than students would think.

Spinnaker reached out to Nick Morrow, UNF’s Director of Athletics, for an interview to explore whether a football program was ever in the making, or if it could be in the school’s future.

Morrow explained that football will not be in the school’s immediate future because it is such an incredibly expensive endeavor. The school wants to focus on funding and providing support for the teams it currently has. 

It is quite often that students may hear that the school had looked into starting a program, and Morrow explained what had actually happened in the past. He said that about 8 years ago when conference realignment was going on, he and the previous athletic director looked at the reality of a football program. 

 Photo by Keri Weiland.

The two quickly realized that if they were to move conferences, they needed to have a football program. However, the athletic program itself would need to double its budget to even be able to have a football program. Morrow said that they had done a lot of thinking and brainstorming.

“It was very detailed down to the cost of shoelaces, it was very detailed what we had sketched out. In order to double our budget we would have to add a student fee dedicated just to football,” he said. 

Something of this nature requires student approval, Student Government (SG) and it has to go all the way up through the Board of Governors, according to Morrow. 

Morrow explained that not only would they need to find the funding for the operating aspect but also for the start-up,

“Then you would have to drop 80 to 100 million dollars worth of capital money into building the facilities to support a football program. The Hodges Stadium is not a good facility for a football program. It looks like it from afar but it could not accommodate a football program.”Unfortunately, at the time it just was not realistic and so Morrow and the previous athletic director had to move on knowing that a football program was not in UNF’s near future. 

 Photo by Lili Weinstein.

As far as the present,  Morrow says that the school is still in the same situation. UNF is just not in the right position budget-wise. Currently, UNF is in 10th place in the ASUN conference in terms of the school’s athletic operating budget according to Morrow. 

Morrow made it clear that the main goal for the department is to be properly funding the programs the school already has. He continued to highlight that the last thing the school wants to do is to establish a football program that is not properly funded. It would become a novelty for the first year and have everyone come out. However, if it isn’t funded well and the team isn’t winning, Morrow believes the team would quickly lose its support. 

Moving forward, the steps that would need to be taken to have a successful, well-funded football program is to have a student enrollment that is at a number that could support a team. Additionally, ensuring that the school’s other sports are not negatively impacted by adding a team as well. 

Another huge consideration is the fact that the school would need to look to add more female sports in addition to a football program. This is because adding a football program brings more male scholarships, increasing the need for more female scholarship opportunities. 

Morrow touched on how, the last time UNF looked at adding a football team, other sports were also suggested. Some of those other ideas were triathlon, acrobatics/tumbling or some form of competitive cheer, and even bowling. 

The last time the school really looked into these possibilities was 2013 and, according to Morrow, that would have been the time to do it. He said it just never was something that could become a reality. 

“Sixty-six percent of our budget comes from student fees and any football at our level or even a little higher of a level are heavily dependent on student fees or institutional support to even put on football programs,” he said.

Morrow explained how there are very few programs across the country that actually are 100 percent truly self-supportive. He says that there are less than 20 programs across the 300 plus division one schools that are truly able to support themselves without any support from student fees or the institution.

Added to all of those things, it is extremely important for the institution to be in support of the dream to have a football program. He went on to say that if football is something the institution really wants, then they have to be able to support it. 

Once a hopeful addition, football does not seem to be on the horizon anytime soon.  Morrow made it very clear that the school would need financial support on top of an immense amount of student body support in order to bring this dream into reality. 


Even if the school was able to support a program at this time, Morrow broke the hard news of how it would still take years for football to be successful and able to stand on its own two feet. Until then UNF students can show support for the other sports the school provides and, most importantly, support fellow Ospreys!


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].