brewer2125 wrote:All good points, certainly.
As to the marching band issue, that is a point (and in that regard kudos to the late Dale Hopper, from my era at WIU, which is 1982-1986). Not having been in a marching band, I can't speak to whether any (or many) students that go to Western go there specifically for marching band, or is it a factor that tips the scale, or is not a factor but becomes something the student gets involved with because they are talented in music and want to get involved in some way once they get to WIU. I suspect that for the majority of student musicians, unless there is scholarship money involved, it is more likely to be a bonus rather than the principal factor. But yes, I am speculating on that point.
Athletic training students have many other sports to work with to achieve their academic and "lab" requirements. Those that desire football specific training can still probably accomplish their goal by working with local high school and JC teams (as WIU does coordinate with the local communities in several other respects). Again, I wonder how many athletic training students would go to Eastern, Southern, Northern, solely because WIU would not have a football team.
Not sure how many students pick a school because their local HS football player went there (unless it is the player's girlfriend). Guessing that number is likely to be very low, if not zero.
I am not sure how the urban/rural distinction would make any difference after the program is dropped. All schools have to travel to some degree for their schedules. In that regard, urban schools would actually have it easier justifying having a team because they would be closer to airports most of the time. I can see that the urban/rural distinction could be an issue moreso for the urban school in deciding whether or not to continue having a team because an urban school might be faced with having to shell out the dollars for likely more expensive real estate to maintain or expand a football program.
My point ultimately is not any different than what several commentators and analysts have already concluded, which is that football programs at most colleges and universities are a financial drain, and the size of that deficit dwarfs what most other school teams require for their budgets. I think it would be preferable to try to keep as many different programs alive, rather than maintaining a cash guzzling football program and offering few other sports, especially where the cost of maintaining the football team requires the elimination of a womens' team. That is, if I recall correctly, the exact reason why we have Title IX in the first place - which is to afford women TRULY equal resources and opportunities in collegiate sports. Title IX is not satisfied, in my opinion, by spending millions of dollars on one football team, then taking the same amount of money and sprinkling it over multiple womens' programs, and then saying all these other teams' athlete are being afforded an "equal" opportunity.
With that mindset, if there is any cutting to be made, then there should be a genuine attempt to keep the opportunities TRULY equal - which can be easily accomplished without football (as there is no equivalent on the womens' side). For example, mens golf requires the same resources as womens golf. Same with tennis, Same with track and field. Same with basketball. Same with swimming and diving. Same with baseball and softball. The same with shooting sports (which I understand some WIU alumni are lobbying to add at WIU). The same with gymnastics. The same with bowling. The same with ice hockey. Etc. Etc. So, to me, unless football is turning a profit, which I can guarantee WIU's football team is not in that tiny market with no TV revenue, it should be the first target of any AD budget cuts because cutting that program does not require the cutting of anything else - and because without football, the other programs compliment each other - precisely as Title IX requires.
Didn't they cut men's tennis not women's tennis? And don't forget volleyball which I know the two do not equal up to the football squad size, but there has to be approx 20 - 25 students between women's tennis and volleyball which are now only women's sports with no men's equivalent after the cut.
It is hard to truly argue cutting football since it is the most popular sport at the school and in the country. Even if they only bring an average of 4,000 people into the stadium how many countless people come to tailgate and spend money in the city or at the school. If you have been to a tailgate I would guess that if 4,000 people are in the stadium 4,000 people are still in the parking lot to. The team brings more financial value than what you see as ticket sales in game. Plus, the $350,000 or whatever it was they get to play against a FBS team ends up cutting out a chunk of their expenses and that was the least amount they have made in last few years off FBS games since there was only 1 game. I would think between ticket sales, food revenue and general economic benefit combined with their money games the football team is by far the most beneficial for the school. Also, I do not know what they make on gameday sponsorships from company's on video board and around the stadium, but I am sure it is something. They may not make any money, but I am guessing they closer than you think to the same net loss as some of the other sports. Also, I am not really sure homecoming would be a big deal if the biggest game of the day was a tennis match which the town itself see's homecoming as a huge economic stimulus day.
Respect for trying to back up the tennis teams and other teams though. It is unfortunate the conversation even has to take place.