Maybe It’s Okay to Not Have a Football Team

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Emory has everything from a university-branded waffle maker to Migos concerts, but most notably lacks a football team, despite shirts that say otherwise. A well-to-do football team promotes school pride, brings in large amounts of revenue, and increases the school’s prestige.

Having a successful football team has its benefits, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. A large majority of football programs are not successful and do not do much in terms of enlarging school coffers or promoting school spirit. In fact, an audit done by the Washington Post found that a majority of Power Five Division I football programs operated at a loss in 2014. Only perennial powers such as Alabama, USC, and Texas reaped notable sums of money. Many universities justify losses by their football teams by considering them a cost of doing business. From university admissions’ point of view, having a football team can be seen as a tool for for getting students to come to their school. Even still, not everyone goes to college to watch football, especially not at Emory.

If Emory was to start a football program, it would likely be in the NCAA Division III (NCAA-D3) and play in the UAA, which it is a member of for all sports non-football, with the likes of Case Western, Carnegie Mellon, and WashU. Universities with NCAA-D3 football programs by and large operate them at net losses. Not only is running a football program expensive, but starting a football program is expensive. Practice facilities and fields have to be build, equipment must be bought and coaches must be hired. This would mean that money would be diverted away from research, academics, and excessive construction, three things that Emory is known for. For Emory, a football team would represent a horrible trade-off and an unnecessary financial burden.

The fact that Emory does not have a football team is a testament to the university and its students’ devotion to academics and research. It is widely known that admissions standards are lowered for athletes in general. Having a sport that requires a lot of people, roughly ninety, to field a team would mean that the university would have to lower admissions standards for that many more applicants every year. Further, many collegiate athletes find themselves committed to as many as 20 hours of practice a week, per NCAA regulations, to go along with travel and games, leaving little time for academics. Not having a football team means that that many more people can be fully engaged in academics. Maybe it’s ok not to have a football team.

 

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