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Fantasy or Reality? Football at ASU Story, Photos & Layout by Stephanie Lammers

It’s an  Augusta  State  student’s  daydream  of  another  football  Sat-­ urday   in   the   southeast.   Early   morning   turns   into   afternoon;;   the   late   November  air  has  all  the  anticipation  that  only  two  months  of  college   football  can  give.    When  the  game  begins,  the  crowd  roars  to  show  sup-­ port  for  its  team.    The  cheers  are  so  loud  that  they  echo  up  and  down   Walton  Way.    This  happens  every  home  game  each  and  every  year  since   the  ASU  Jaguar  Football  Team  began  playing  this  popular  sport.    


A

las,  this   is   a   college   foot-­ ball   fan’s   d a y d r e a m ,   but   what   if   this   dream   became  a  re-­ ality?   Will   it   ever?   Are   the   school   and   the   stu-­ dent-­body   better   off   without   this   sport  in  their  future?    This  campus   is   growing   rapidly   each   year,   but   currently,   there   are   several   issues   that   are   inhibiting   a   football   team   at  Augusta  State  University.   Most   importantly,   college   foot-­ ball   is   expensive,   and   according   to   Clint   Bryant,   ASU’s   athletic   director,“[It  would]  take  $5  million   to  $6  million  dollars  to  start  it  and   then  some  where  between  $1.5  mil-­ lion  to  $2  million  dollars  to  main-­ tain  it  annually.â€?       These   bucks   won’t   fall   from   the   sky;Íž   the   majority   of   this   cash   will   come  from  the  student  body’s  ath-­ letic  fees.    Some  may  wonder  why   it  would  take  that  much  money  to   form   a   team,   but   it   is   much   more   than   the   uniforms   and   the   cleats   that  Bryant  is  concerned  about.       ASU   lacks   housing   and   practice   ÂżHOGVIRUWKHSOD\HUVEXWPRVWLP-­ portantly,   the   school   doesn’t   have   a  stadium  for  the  team  itself.  There   are  several  stadiums  in  the  Augus-­ ta  area,  but  none  of  them  would  be   the  Jaguar  Arena.  It  might  be  pos-­ sible   to   play   football   at   the   James   Brown   Arena,   but   the   site   may   be   problematic   considering   that   the   location   is   not   on   or   near   ASU’s   campus.    Bryant  strongly  disagrees   with   using   a   stadium   that   is   not   owned  by  Augusta  State.     “If   you   have   a   sport   and   you   have  to  use  other  people’s  facilities,   that’s  a  prime  example  of  why  you   don’t  need  it  because  you  can’t  af-­ ford  it,â€?  he  says.       He   continues   by   stating   that   not   only   would   these   expenses   be  

an  issue,   but   in   order   to   build   the   framework   of   a   team,   the   school   would  have  to  hire  a  coaching  staff   and   athletic   trainers.     Addition-­ ally,  60  to  70  players  would  have  to   EHUHFUXLWHGWRÂżHOGDWHDP7KHVH are   problems   that   cannot   easily   be   solved,   but   what   if   the   student   body  is  ready  to  step  up  to  the  line   and  tackle  the  athletic  fees  associ-­ ated   with   an   intercollegiate   foot-­ ball  team?     According   to   statistics   posted   on   the   ASU   admissions   website,   Augusta   state   is   one   of   the   fast-­ est   growing   institutions   in   Geor-­ gia   with   over   7,000   students   en-­ rolled   this   fall.     With   this   number   of  students  on  campus,  how  much   money   would   need   to   be   assessed   in  athletic  fees?       “I   would   venture   to   say   that   7-­8,000   students   would   need   an   athletic  fee  of  $500  or  more  per  se-­ mester  which  is  $1,000  per  year  or   better,â€?  says  Bryant.     He   stressed   that   the   students   would   be   hit   hard   with   this   fee,   maybe   even   too   hard.     According   to  Liana  Wright,  a  business  major   at  ASU,  she  is  willing  to  pay  $500   a  semester.    She  says  she  has  talk-­ ed   about   it   many   times   with   her   friends  and  they  all  agree.     “It   would   bring   more   students   and  more  money;Íž  it  would  create  a   fan  base,â€?  she  says.   This   anxious   student   believes   ASU   is   ready   for   the   change   and   the   challenge.     Wright   claims   that   this  team  sport  would  create  more   than   just   a   football   team;Íž   it   could   help  transform  Augusta  into  a  col-­ lege   town.     She   isn’t   the   only   stu-­ dent  that  feels  we  should  have  this   sport.    Aaron  Swarmer,  a  psycholo-­ gy  major,  is  looking  forward  to  the   day   that   he   can   sit   in   the   stadium   and  watch  the  Jaguar  football  team   take  on  its  opponent,  but  he  thinks   it  is  easier  said  than  done.       “I   think   it’s   something   that   we   should   aspire   to   and   plan   for,â€?   he  

says.      Swarmer  believes  that  it  is  a  huge   step  for  the  school  to  take,  but  it  is   not  a  necessity.       “In  the  long  run,  I  think  that  the   EHQHÂżWV RXWZHLJK WKH FRVWV ERWK monetarily  and  with  respect  to  the   future  of  the  university,â€?  he  claims.       With  that  being  said  he  states,  “I   wish   we   were   ready,   I   don’t   think   we’re  there  yet.â€?       Even   though   much   of   the   stu-­ dent  body  supports  the  idea  of  hav-­ ing  a  football  team,  it  is  reasonable   to   ask   if   Augusta   State   can   sup-­ port   a   football   team   considering   its  size  and  lack  of  funding.  There   are   many   universities   in   the   state   of  Georgia,  such  as  North  Georgia   College   and   State   University,   that   are  larger  in  size  than  ASU  and  they   still  lack  this  great  sport.    Even  with   the  economic  crisis  of  today,  there   is  at  least  one  lucky  college  that  is   building  from  the  ground  up.       Georgia  State  University,  located   in   Atlanta,   has   dedicated   itself   to   the   lengthy   journey   of   establish-­ ing  a  team.    This  project  has  been   in   progress   for   years,   but   on   the   Frequently  Asked  Questions  About   Georgia  State  Football  webpage  the   latest   meeting   that   spurred   inter-­ est  on  forming  a  team  was  in  2005.     The   website   continues   by   stating   that  President  Carl  Patton  and  the   athletic  director  of  GSU  worked  on   “an  exhaustive  feasibility  study  on   the  addition  of  footballâ€?  from  2005   to   2006.     After   having   positive   feedback  from  the  community  and   researching   the   student   athletic   fee  increase,  this  football  team  was   ready  to  take  off.   Even   though   this   process   might   sound   achievable,   their   campus   is   almost  incomparable  to  ours.    Ac-­ cording   to   Georgia   State   Univer-­ sity’s   website,   this   institution   just   broke   a   record   of   having   30,000   students  enrolled  this  fall.    This  is   a   world   of   difference   compared   to   ASU.    


Georgia  State  has  their  athletic  fees   set   at   $227   for   the   fall   and   spring   semesters   of   2009-­2010.   Accord-­ ing  to  Allison  George,  the  associate   athletic   director   of   communica-­ tions  at  GSU,  there  is  a  permanent   increase  of  $85  per  semester  in  ath-­ letic  fees  due  to  the  addition  of  the   football   team   and   women’s   sports   at   the   university.     The   student   fee   committee  along  with  the  board  of   regents   approved   this   raise   in   the   student’s  tuition.       ASU’s  athletic  fees  are  currently   set  at  $130  for  the  fall  semester.    If   the  university  increased  these  fees   by  $85  per  semester,  we  would  be   paying  $215.    This  price  is  reason-­ able   but   unrealistic   because   ASU   has   a   much   smaller   student   body   than  Georgia  State.    As  it  was  pre-­ viously   mentioned,   Bryant’s   es-­ timate   of   the   increase   in   athletic   fees  at  ASU  is  $500  per  semester.     7KHUH LV D VLJQL¿FDQW SULFH GLIIHU-­ ence  between  ASU  and  GSU.     This  $85  price  increase  is  in  af-­ fect,   and   the   Georgia   State   Pan-­ thers   are   scheduled   to   take   on   Shorter   College   in   the   Georgia   Dome  on  Sept.  2,  2010.    However,   Bryant   is   still   unsure   about   how   this  college  will  play  their  games  at  

the  Georgia  Dome.       He   claims   that   the   Georgia   Dome  is  a  huge  facility  with  a  huge   cost,   and   GSU   might   not   have   the   fan  base  to  support  this  venue.    He   believes  that  there  are  many  other   arenas   in   the   area   that   are   closer   to   Georgia   State.   He   feels   that   it   PLJKW EH PRUH EHQHÂżFLDO WR SOD\ at   a   venue   such   as   Morris   Brown   College.    Bryant  is  interested  to  see   how   the   Georgia   Dome   plays   out   and   if   this   university   will   begin   to   build  its  own  stadium.     Georgia   State   is   a   large   university   WKDWLVGLIÂżFXOWWRFRPSDUHWR$68 but  even  a  college  such  as  Georgia   Southern   has   a   student   body   that   exceeds  us.    This  institution’s  web-­ site   claims   to   have   almost   17,000   students  enrolled.       “Ten  years  from  now,  if  Augusta   State  grows  to  be  15,000  to  18,000   students   and   we   become   more   residential   and   we   have   the   lands   WR FUHDWH IRRWEDOO SUDFWLFH ÂżHOGV and  stadiums  and  stuff  like  that,  it   might   be   a   valuable   option,â€?   says   Bryant.         His   number   one   concern   is   the   money   that   is   involved   in   a   proj-­ ect   such   as   this   one,   and   after   re-­ searching   other   universities   in  

Georgia,  it  is  hard  to  argue  against   the   fact   that   our   university   might   not  be  able  to  afford  a  football  team   in  the  near  future  due  to  the  costs   and  the  size  of  our  campus.    Many   people  think  it  is  time  to  leap  onto   WKH ¿HOG ZKLOH RWKHUV GLVDJUHH )RUQRZLQWUDPXUDOÀDJIRRWEDOOLV the  closest  we  can  get  to  experienc-­ ing  the  real  thing.

Stephanie Lammers is a Communications major on the Public Relations track

FACTS ABOUT INTRAMURAL SPORTS AT ASU ‡ 6SRUWVRIIHUHGà DJ football, table tennis , madden, poker, 8 ball, soccer ‡ 8SFRPLQJVSRUWV basketball ‡ Sports are offered Fall DQG6SULQJVHPHVWHUV ‡ Students nominate team captains ‡ 6LJQXSIRUPVDQGLQ formation on website: KWWSZZZDXJHGX student_activities/in tramurals/rules.html

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Fantasy or Reality? Football at ASU  

This was the first article I wrote in the Phoenix Magazine as a staff writer in the winter 2009 issue.

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