Metro has no plans to develop a Division II football program, but the challenges present are clear: Money would need to be raised, facilities would need to be expanded and the guidelines of Title IX would need to be followed.
“It’s the college administration who makes those decisions,” Athletic Director Joan McDermott said. “At this point, our stance is we are not adding football.”
Adding a Division II team to Metro’s roster would bring an array of costs.
McDermott said, to begin with, the facilities would need to be upgraded. Presently, there is not enough space for each student-athlete to have his or her own locker. Most football teams carry around 110 players, meaning the already crammed locker space would have to be expanded to accommodate all the football equipment. In addition to building more locker space, the weight room would need to be upgraded.
“We would need to expand our training room,” McDermott said. “You’re talking about 100 more student-athletes. Right now we’re real crowded in our training room as it is.”
The coaches that staff the weight room would also be a budgetary concern. The school would need to hire a strength and conditioning coach, and another full-time athletic trainer McDermott said.
The team would also need a full time head coach, a few full time assistant coaches and a few part time assistant coaches as well.
In the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, the DII conference Metro is associated with, the maximum amount of scholarships awarded to football teams stands at 28. The Athletic Department would need to come up with money for those 28 more scholarships, which are about $12,000 each.
On top of that money, the department would need to fund uniforms, travel budgets and equipment. Once all of the aforementioned costs are covered to start the program, the year-to-year budget starts to take shape.
“Once you get through your first time monies, I think it’s probably a million a year,” McDermott said.
Colorado State University at Pueblo is the most recent school to add a football team in the RMAC, adding the sport in 2008. The exact startup costs are unknown, but CSU-Pueblo Sports Information Director Anthony Sandstrom said the figure was around $13 million to start the program.
“When we started the program up, they had to raise in the millions of dollars to really get it off the ground,” Sandstrom said. “It ended up being about $13 million, it was all privately funded.“
“Our athletic department budget pretty much doubled after we added football,” Sandstrom said. CSU-Pueblo’s student population also grew from 4,500 students to 5,100.
“There’s been a huge increase as far as student body (population) here,” Sandstrom said. “It’s really transformed the university, it’s really changed the campus.”
For Metro, another issue would need to be addressed — Title IX.
Title IX states there must an equal amount of women’s roster spots as there are in men’s. This would mean more sports on the women’s side would need to be added to increase the number of women student athletes.
“Ideally you add 110 more male student athletes, you add 110 female student athletes,” McDermott said.
Sports like women’s crew and women’s lacrosse could be considered, even though more work would still need to be done to balance out the numbers as those sports would still not open up 110 spots.
The other option to this problem is to take away some men’s sports to balance out the incoming 110 male student athletes, but that is not the route the athletic department would want to take.
“(We) don’t want to do that,” McDermott said, “As you know schools do that, but that would be a bummer for the current programs.”
While there are various options of how Metro would go about starting a football program, abiding by all the guidelines at the DII level and coming up with the money for facilities and other team expenditures would not come easy.
Until the school reaches the point in which they are ready to discuss a DII team, students on campus will have to settle for the club version.