Wichita State reviews athletics, considers football
According to The Wichita Eagle, the athletic review includes several aspects of the program — facilities, sports, conference affiliation. University President John Bardo believes athletics is a tool to improve student life, so strengthening the program could make an impression on incoming and prospective students.Wichita State cut its football program after the 1986 season due to budget issues and poor attendance. It discussed bringing it back in 1998 but ultimately decided to focus on other sports as well.
From The Wichita Eagle:
“Maybe football’s an answer, maybe soccer’s an answer,” Bardo said. “This is not about football. This is about who we are and what we can do.
“I want to make sure we are addressing the interests of the people of Wichita, that includes our students and that includes the broader community. You have to actually actively explore.”
Over the past 15 years, the desire for football’s return seemed to fade as the athletic department began a period of unprecedented success in sports ranging from basketball to track and field. Fans connected WSU’s ability to pay competitive salaries for coaches such as basketball’s Gregg Marshall and Jody Adams and volleyball’s Chris Lamb to the absence of football.
The article notes that sports like baseball and basketball have succeeded in part because football has not been draining resources or attention. Bringing back football to Wichita State would also require a plan that allows it to coexist with other sports without hindering their success.
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