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Can ETSU successfully start a new football program

Staff Report • Dec 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM

East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland announced Wednesday that the university would try to bring back its long-dormant football team.

Noland emphasized that there would be no football at the university next fall, just that the establishment of a football team had been recommended.

“As I’ve said on a number of occasions: We have no helmets, we have no shoulder pads, we have no tackling sleds, we have no field and we have no practice facility,” Noland said in a news conference announcing several new initiatives recommended by campus task forces. “So this is starting something rather than restoring something.”

Football was eliminated at ETSU following the end of the 2003 season. The program was losing $1 million a year at the time it was ended.

The new ETSU president said the football issue would be explored further on campus and in the community in a feasibility study.

“We need to talk to our students about the revenue sources," Noland said. "But being mindful that the presence of intercollegiate football directly impacts conference affiliation, and as I’ve said on a number of occasions, we will do anything and everything we can to expand and enhance the capacities of ETSU. And if that means we have to expedite something, we’re prepared to expedite something.”

This isn't the first time the campus has considered reviving the sport. A student referendum to establish fees in support of a football team failed in 2007.

So do you think ETSU can revive its intercollegiate football program after a decade without one? Vote in the weekly poll on our home page.

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