You know, I find it interesting how some people criticize something they know nothing about. Last week, in a letter to the editor, some genius said Eastern Michigan University could do without a football program. Or, at the very least, drop the football program to a Division II or III program. It is very clear to me that this person knows nothing about the history of this football program.
There are many benefits to having a Division I football program. At the very least you are more likely to get TV coverage on such networks as ESPN and other networks.
Secondly, private businesses are more likely to sponsor or provide dollars to a school’s scholarship fund. They help to give the school a more recognizable name. Now this writer claims students select their particular school based on if they have a winning football program.
Speaking as a student, I think other things like the quality of a particular school’s education would be more important. There might be as many as eight other big factors, including the cost, which may be more important than if our football team is winning or not.
I consider it almost an insult to say the main reason for choosing a school is its football program.
Now it is true the more wins a team gets the more likely fans will want to come to the game. One thing we have to understand is that we are less than 10 minutes away from arguably one of the best football programs in the country. It is very difficult for a smaller school to compete with something like that.
Our team is also in a transition phase, we have a brand-new coach, leaving not much time to recruit and build the kind of team that will lead to a much better program. Now the question of whether EMU should remain in Division I goes much deeper than just simple football, it is a question of equality.
In essence what this writer is actually saying is because some people think we are not good enough, we should not act like we belong in the highest level of college football. That is not a message I would endorse. I would continue to fight to show people I am just as good as they are.
It is true, it costs money to run an athletic program at any college or university. We should keep in mind the University of Michigan is one of a few programs that actually makes money on their football program. Most schools throughout the country do not bring in the kind of money that would sustain an athletic program on its own.
I would like to see the author of the article in question go over to the football stadium and tell the entire football team that they are not good enough to compete at the Division I level. It’s easy for people to say things in a letter but I’m sure until you have been in the other person’s shoes you really don’t have any idea how they feel. The rules for Division II and III are much different than Division I.
Many of our football players have some sort of athletic scholarship to play here. The scholarships are giving them the opportunity to attend a great university and receive an education that would otherwise cost a lot of money. I cannot endorse taking away someone’s scholarship because people think they aren’t good enough. It is very clear when people talk about our football program they have no idea of our history or of the players who currently wear the EMU uniform.
I think Division I is the right idea for EMU. I am not going to write the Board of Regents asking them to lower our decision. What I am going to do is urge all in the EMU community to give our new head coach the time he needs to rebuild our football program. I remember a Michigan team that went 3-9 last year. Now they have four wins this season because their coach was given time to build a winning team.
We must give Ron English the time to build a team that we all can be proud of. Patience is a virtue. Surrendering, as the letter to the editor suggested, is not something we should do.