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UT System regents approve UTSA football

By Marianne McBride Lewis
Director of Public Affairs

(Dec. 18, 2008)--The University of Texas System Board of Regents today approved UTSA's Athletic Initiative Business Plan granting the university permission to expand athletics and add a football program.

The plan calls for UTSA to develop an $84 million competitive athletic complex over the next several years and add an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly Division I-AA) football program with the intent to advance the athletics department's existing 16 intercollegiate sports programs plus football to an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly Division I-A) conference.

The Athletic Initiative directly supports the university's academic mission as outlined in its strategic plan, "A Shared Vision UTSA 2016."

"Athletics at UTSA has been the subject of much discussion for many months," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "We are grateful to the Board of Regents for their support today to enhance our entire sports program and bring UTSA football to San Antonio. Additionally, UTSA would not be here today without the support of the leadership and citizens of San Antonio and Bexar County who approved $22 million in funding towards building the new Athletic Complex."

UTSA will fund the athletic initiative through student fees, corporate and private support, and other revenue streams that do not draw from the institutional academic budget. In September 2007, UTSA students overwhelmingly supported a referendum to expand the athletics program and double the athletics fee over the next five to seven years from $10 per semester credit hour up to $20 per semester hour, capped at 12 semester credit hours.

The university's intent behind the expansion of the sports program and adding football is to engage current students at new levels by providing them an enhanced and more complete university experience and draw former students and the San Antonio community closer to the university and its continuing development toward national research university status.

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FAQ: UTSA football program

Q: Now that football has been approved, what are next steps?
A: The next steps are:

  • Launch a $15 million fundraising campaign
  • Begin search for a head coach
  • After a head coach is hired, search for assistant coaches and recruit players
  • Build phase one of the Athletics Complex
  • Continue UTSA's commitment to research and academics and to be the next great Texas university

Q: What is the status of the search for a football coach?
A: The search can begin now.

Q: What is the best-case football timeline?
A: Timeline:

  • 2009: Launch $15 million fundraising campaign
  • 2009: Hire a head coach and two assistant coaches
  • 2010: Hire additional staff, sign first recruiting class in February and begin practicing with red-shirted inaugural team in August
  • 2011: Expand team and play independent football schedule
  • 2012: Play Southland Conference football schedule

Q: Where will the football team practice?
A: Until money is raised to construct football fields at the Athletics Complex, the team will practice either on the 1604 Campus or at surrounding high school facilities.

Q: Where will the football team play home games?
A: UTSA has a tentative agreement with the City of San Antonio to use the Alamodome for home games.

Q: When built, where will the $84 million Athletics Complex be located?
A: Loop 1604 at Hausman Road, on a 125-acre parcel one mile southwest of the UTSA 1604 Campus

Q: When will construction begin on the Athletics Complex?
A: 2010: Goal is to begin construction in February 2010, 2011: Completion of Phase One in October 2011

Q: What is included in phase one of the Athletics Complex?
A: Phase one will include NCAA Division I quality facilities for soccer and track, roadway, surface parking and other related infrastructure. After that, depending on successful fundraising, practice football fields will be added.

Q: How will this be paid for?
A: The Athletics Complex will be paid with $22 million in funding approved by city and county voters and the remaining funds will be sought through donations, sponsorships and partnerships. The cost to add football and advance the existing intercollegiate sports programs will be paid in part from the increased student athletic fees. However, $15 million must be raised in donations and sponsorships and other revenue sources must be sought that do not draw from the UTSA academic budget.

Q: Will the football program include a marching band and cheerleading squad?
A: UTSA already sponsors a pep band and spirit program, which consists of a cheerleading squad and dance team. With the addition of football, these programs can be expanded with additional fundraising.

Q: How will football affect UTSA's commitment to become a national research institution?
A: UTSA has long been a university of first choice and provides access to excellence for more than 28,400 graduate and undergraduate students. Football will not change this. UTSA is still on target to become a national research university. That means there will be an increase in the number of academic programs, more contributions to the economic success of San Antonio and the region and enhanced student life. Now, a championship-driven Division I football program is added to this list.

Q: Where can I find more details about the UTSA Athletics Initiative Business Plan?
A: Read the complete business plan and other pertinent information at the UTSA Athletics Web site.

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