The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Matador Football petitioners return for signatures of support

Matador Football petitioners return for signatures of support
Illustration by Daily Sundial Production

A referendum petition to bring a football team back to CSUN has been circulating around the campus in an effort to gain support from students.

“The main reason I believe (football) is essential to the university is (that) without the football team, you do not get the college experience many people expect,” said Jason Aula, CSUN alumnus and head of the “Bring Back Matador Football” petitioners.

The petition aims to reinstate the football program by implementing a student activity fee that will reach $91 per semester over a five-year span.

Aula, who was the lead proponent for an unsuccessful ballot to bring back the CSU Long Beach football team from 2008 to 2011, believes that the football program will provide the university with a more engaging college setting.

“Bringing back football will create a traditional college atmosphere that many of these students who signed the petition want,” Aula said.

The university’s football team was cut in 2001 after former CSUN President Jolene Koester chose one of several budget-saving scenarios shown to her by former CSUN Athletic Director Dick Dull, said Michael Neubauer, director of the liberal studies program.

“The football team was an expensive sport and was losing money,” Neubauer said. “The traveling, scholarships and coaches were very expensive, and the (North Campus) football stadium was not appropriate for the football team.”

The lack of support for the football team was also addressed in the petition, where it states, “The main argument for the elimination of the (CSUN) football program in 2001 was overall apathy and a lack of fan support at that time.”

The petition argues that its signatures will reveal a new support for the team.

Jerry Meza, a senior biology major, said he believes bringing back football would boost to Matador school spirit.

“I think it’s a good idea, because (CSUN) is mostly known as a commuter school, and (it would) give us all the opportunity to bond as a school,” Meza said. “Football is a sport that brings a lot of people together.”

Meza added he would fully support the football team and participate in tailgating.

The current football petition is a revised version of an earlier petition, which was rejected 0-4 with two abstained votes by the A.S. judicial court in October 2011.

The projected revenue from the proposed student activity fee of $86 in the first petition was found insufficient in covering the cost necessary in bringing a football team back to CSUN.

According to A.S. General Manager David Crandall, the student activity fee was found inadequate when the petition was sent by the A.S. judicial court to the Student Financial Advisory Committee that advises CSUN’s president on all fees.

“The committee made a financial analysis review of the referendum and found it to be illegitimate, and therefore could not be presented to the A.S. Senate,” Crandall said.

A.S. is not required to review a referendum until it has signatures from 10 percent of the fee-paying student population, Crandall said.

The current petition lists a proposed plan with a fee of $30 in each semester in the first year that will increase to $47 per semester the second year, $72 per semester in the third year, $85 per semester in the fourth year, and $91 per semester in the fifth year.

The proposed student activity fee would be combined with the A.S. fee, which is currently at $84 a semester.

Additionally, the petition requires a one-time start-up fee of $112 per semester in the first year coupled with the original $30 per semester, which would bring the total to $142 per semester in the first year.

The start-up fee would cover financing for two practice fields, a new football stadium, sports scholarships and the hiring of necessary athletic trainers and associate directors.

Along with financial discrepancies in the first petition, it also did not meet the Title IX requirements for women’s sports and scholarships.

Title IX requires gender equity in athletics programs based on the ratio of men to women in the total university student population. The ratio in 2011, when the original petition was submitted, was 43.1 percent men to 56.9 percent women.

If the petition is passed, Aula said the student activity fee would begin Fall 2013 and would amount to an addition of 63 new men’s sports scholarships and 87 women’s sports scholarships, according to Title IX scholarship requirements.

However, the Fiscal Impact Analysis by A.S. regarding the original petition found that a student activity fee would need to be as high as $243 to fund the projected expenses of a football team and its stadium.

A.S. President Syndi Powell said she believed that if Harrison were to pass the referendum, there would still would be plenty of other factors to consider, like figuring out the source of money to pay an additional sports staff.

In terms of cost, Aula said he does not believe it is effective for universities like CSUN, CSU Long Beach and CSU Fullerton to be without a football program, because it does not allow for the athletics department the opportunity to profit or recover financial losses from other sports programs that are not performing well enough.

The football team could profit from television deals, sponsorships and alumni donations, Aula said.

In the 40 years of Matador Football’s existence, the team had a 182-231-4 record. The team compiled a 3-7 record in the Divison IAA conference during its last season in 2001.

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