Organizers of an emergency fund-raising effort to save Towson State football got what they wanted at a meeting of the school's University Senate yesterday.
The University Senate had received from the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee a proposal to suspend football at the end of this season. Yesterday, however, that motion was withdrawn from the agenda at the request of IAC chairman John Connolly. He asked that his group be given a month to judge the feasibility of the fund-raising plan, but athletic director Bill Hunter said decisions can be made before then about the football program's future.
Hunter, who told the University Senate, "I don't think a month's delay will hurt the program any more than we hurt it [already]," will attend a meeting of alumni at the Towson Center tonight.
"I don't think it's going to take a month for a plan to go into effect," Hunter said. "We're not looking for these two groups [alumni and parents] to fund the football program, nor underwrite our budget deficit. They do have to have an ongoing plan. They would need to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 [annually]."
Football scholarships will cost $330,000 this year. The athletic department has a $2.8 million budget that is funded 94 percent by student fees, and a deficit of $257,000 is projected by the end of this school year.
Jim Holdridge heads the alumni group, and Jack Patterson continues to organize parents of players. The two groups will forward their fund-raising plans to the IAC, which will make a recommendation to the University Senate no later than Dec. 3.
Coach Phil Albert said Saturday after a 55-27 homecoming loss to New Haven that damage had been done regarding recruiting and current players seeking transfers, but 48 hours later he was much more upbeat.
"If we had no plan, business would have gone on as usual," Albert said. "At this juncture, it is a positive statement in that it allows a developmental plan to resolve the athletic department's financial problems."
The IAC held an open forum last Thursday, and the majority of the 500 people in attendance wanted to keep the football program going.
"It was clear to us that a group of concerned parents and alumni are confident that they can find a plan to raise money to alleviate our budget problems," IAC chairman Connolly told the University Senate. "I expect in the next week or two a carefully detailed plan of precisely what it is they intend to do."