OPINION: CSUN football fell in 2001, but a comeback is long overdue


Illustration by David Mesquita.

Pamela Garcia, Assistant Sports Editor

College football plays a significant role in the lives of many students and their families every season — from watching and attending the games, to buying team merchandise and keeping up with the playoffs. These are all part of the traditional university experience. For some, a heavy factor to consider when deciding which college to attend may be whether or not an institution has a football team.

CSUN football was first introduced in 1960, and hosted its first game as the San Fernando Valley State College Matadors fifteen months later. The Matadors played full varsity schedules until November 2001, when the team was cut by then-CSUN president Jolene Koester.

The decision was made based on consistent annual losses in revenue, and needs to increase Title IX compliance, which requires the institution to have an equal amount of money spent on both men’s and women’s teams. At the time, CSUN did not have as many women’s teams and was looking to expand its diversity.

Despite all the challenges the team faced back then, the camaraderie is still alive and well more than 20 years later. As reported by CBS News, many of the coaches and teammates still keep in touch with each other, their love for football never fading away.

The cut did not sit well with a great majority of the students. After the initial decision, many attended various city council meetings in an attempt to save the team. The void that was left remains with many of the students and alumni today.

“Unfortunately, I am a senior and will be graduating in spring, but I wish CSUN had a football team because it creates community for students and our local residents. I also love football and wish I could represent my college with CSUN football gear. If CSUN brings football back, I would definitely support [the team] as an alumni!” CSUN student Ericka Jovel wrote as an answer to a survey conducted by the Daily Sundial in October 2022.

There have been several attempts to bring the football team back through petitions in recent years, but to no avail. One of the main issues is lack of space around the existing campus to build a new football stadium after going two decades without one. CSUN would have to generate enough money to recompense the building, have an adequate budget to sustain it, and generate more revenue.

According to the Daily Sundial’s survey, 78.1% of the Matadors who responded believe our school spirit would have a drastically positive change if Matadors football were to return. Others even expressed that post-graduation, they would want to come back and support the team as alumni.

“I think it would be nice if I went to CSUN and got to root for their football team rather than having to go to either UC Berkeley, UCLA, or USC and root for their football teams there,” said Jay Kuklin, a third-year journalism major who now works for the Daily Sundial.

Although CSUN is currently not in the position to house a football team, it is worth being put into consideration for the near future. There is room for expanding our campus to become a focal point for university sports in the Valley. The student dynamic on campus will become stronger with the newfound community of fans following the team.

Undoubtedly, football is something that a lot of the students on campus long to experience, especially considering the lack of a team on most California State University campuses. It’s never too late to jump on the college football bandwagon.