JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Big changes could be coming to the University of North Florida. The school's president, John Delaney, wants the Board of Trustees to start the conversation about adding a football program.
Delaney says UNF is a school not quite big enough to demand a football team. But the interest is there and he says it is time to explore it.
"We're about 17,000 students. When you get to 25 [thousand], it's almost mandatory to have football," he told Action News.
Delaney says a football program could improve UNF overall.
"There's no question that we lose some students that really would like to see a football program. There's no question in that."
But a college team doesn't come cheap. Delaney tells Action News football programs like the one at the University of Florida carry a big price tag.
"You can do it for about thr$3 million and then just go as far north as you want. Florida spends, I think, $40 or $50 million on a program. We're not going to do that."
Jeff Coker, dean of undergraduate studies, says it is definitely something worth exploring to make sure the price tag's worth it.
"We at UNF have, over the last several years, been doing a whole host of things to build a stronger on-campus community and that traditional on-campus climate and certainly a football program can contribute to that, but the question is, I think at least as I read it, are the benefits that that would bring worth the costs," he said.
Delaney says it isn't likely something that would happen this school year or next. The school will take the next year or so to really analyze the pros, cons and costs.
And he says a football program would not raise tuition costs. Athletics have to support themselves, meaning no money could come from any other part of the university.