Students, faculty want Eastern Michigan to drop DI football

April 27, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
Faculty and students at Eastern Michigan University want the school to drop from Division I football, citing low attendance figures and the costs of keeping the program running.

Eastern MichiganA report from the university, according to the Detroit Free Press, found that each student paid $917 out of pocket to support athletics. The sports program doesn’t make enough money to cover its costs, so money is drawn from the university’s general fund, which is made up of student and state money.

The report’s recommendation is that EMU drop entirely from Division I football and join the Horizon League for all sports.

From the Free Press:

“Culturally and geographically, EMU football will simply never succeed from an attendance and financial standpoint,” faculty member Howard Bunsis, who helped prepare the report, said in a presentation to the Board of Regents on Friday. “It is a losing proposition — always has been, and always will be. We hardly raise any money for football, and our attendance is the lowest in the country. Some of you believe that we are close to succeeding, if we just throw more money at the situation. This proposition is insane.

“This has nothing to do with our performance on the field, or the quality of our coaches. Our coaches are good people and dedicated professionals. They are fighting a losing battle that cannot be won. Each and every one of you needs to reassess why you are here; if you have any sense of what is right for EMU, you will drop EMU from Division I football as soon as possible. How can you sit there and justify throwing millions of dollars away?”

“Eastern Michigan should drop Division I football, and join the Horizon League, where football is not required,” the report says. “Alternatively, EMU can still play football, but at the Division II or Division III (non-scholarship) level within the Horizon League, which would save even more resources. The advantage of joining the Horizon League is EMU athletes could still compete at the Division I level in Olympic and other non-revenue sports, but spend much less.”

According to the report, athletic expenses have increase nearly 65% over the past 10 years. Despite those figures, the university’s administration told the Free Press it’s committed to participating in Division I “because of the benefits athletics provides to our institution and students.”

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