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  1. Terry Mclennan is a public relations senior and guest columnist Andy Williams’ classic song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” may have been in reference to Christmas, but in Texas, that time is college football season, and it is in full swing. The hitting is hard, the competition is tough and the debates are fierce as people all over the state are embracing the return of football with open arms — well, almost everyone. This will be the 26th season that UTA will be absent from these conversations as the last time a football team represented the school was in 1985. For a lot of people, that is far too long to go without a football program, and the arguments are stronger and more legitimate than ever; UTA is coming off very successful seasons in men’s basketball and baseball, College Park Center is in full operation, UTA has begun it’s first season of athletic competition in the Western Athletic Conference which would love to add an eighth football team to its roster. Plus, UTA already has a 15,000-seat stadium on campus, as well as access to quite possibly the greatest arena ever built — Cowboys Stadium. When you look at those facts, it really does not make any sense why athletic director Jim Baker is not on the phone trying to hire a head coach and scheduling a press conference. There are plenty of other football programs in Texas that would love to be in the position that UTA is in right now. UTA is in a prime position to rejuvenate its program and capitalize on both the excitement and opportunities that a football team would bring. However, if it did, it would be the biggest mistake this program has ever made. I understand that college football is different from college basketball from a financial standpoint, but that is also just the beginning of the investments that UTA will have to make in order to build a somewhat respectable program. Finding a high-quality coach who would be fully dedicated to rebuilding this program from the ground up would be almost impossible without writing a six-figure check. That is what fellow WAC Conference member UT-San Antonio had to do when they signed Larry Coker to take over their upstart program. According to the Texas Tribune, Coker made $220,000 in the school’s first football season. He was the lowest-paid football coach in the conference, but that’s still almost double what the Texas Tribune website said head coach Scott Cross made last year. In addition to finding a coach, a decision would need to be made in regards to Maverick Stadium. According to the NCAA guidelines, a Division I football program must maintain an average attendance of 15,000 people per game. Maverick Stadium only holds 12,500, meaning the university will have to pay to have renovations done to the stadium to be up to par. The Idaho Vandals, who are also in the WAC, are undergoing a $52 million renovation project, so imagine how much will need to go into Maverick Stadium. That is unless you decide to lease out Cowboys Stadium, which would be very difficult to do with so many other games and events that also take place there. We haven’t even discussed the most important and most expensive investment of all, recruiting young men to be a part of the program Recruiting these days has now become a sport in its own, and it takes a heavy investment in both time and money — especially when it comes to recruiting in the most football talent-rich state in the country. Thirty-nine of ESPN’s Top 300 high school prospects are from Texas and colleges from all over the nation are trying to grab them. When a coach is trying to convince these guys to play for the new UTA program as opposed to Texas Christian University, University of North Texas, Baylor University, Texas A&M and Texas State University, you’d better be prepared to bring something to the table. Without even discussing where they are going to live, scholarships, scheduling, travel and other ancillary charges that I can’t even think of right now, you are looking at the very least a two-year, $60-million project. A project that no one has the time, energy or money to devote to it. Although there would be some very excited Mavericks to see those players step on to the field, that excitement would soon fade when they realize that their program has turned into the new Savannah State of football: the sacrificial lamb of other major football programs as they get beat by 70 while collecting a check to cover the expenses for the remaining athletic programs. I’m sure it would be great for UTA to once again be included in the Texas college-football debate, but please do everyone a favor and let the dream die. The program was dismantled 26 years ago, and that is where it needs to stay. Read more: http://www.theshorthorn.com/opinion/columnists/columnist_your_view/column-uta-football-program-would-be-too-costly/article_74d3447c-01f8-11e2-8a9d-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=jqm
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