Towson State athletic director Bill Hunter said yesterday he was optimistic the school would play football in 1991 and beyond.
Hunter and other Towson State administrators attended a meeting yesterday of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee at which football supporters outlined fund-raising and marketing plans. When the IAC reports to the University Senate Dec. 3, Hunter said that he is confident its report will involve maintaining football.
The IAC, which in October voted 8-1 to suspend football, withdrew that motion from the University Senate Nov. 5.
Yesterday the IAC heard from Jim Holdridge, an account executive for a Linthicum computer firm who played for the Tigers from 1973-76.
"It's my belief that the university hasn't had a strong fund-raising effort in the past," Holdridge said last night. "There are a lot of Towson State alumni involved in the corporate community. A lot of times fund-raisers don't know who to talk to, and we have to try to make our alumni an asset, a way to reach corporate decision-makers."
Holdridge said the university has to do a better job of marketing its teams in general and football specifically.
"We called comparable programs in the region and asked how they marketed athletics. We can do the same, and we don't have to go outside. The school of business at Towson State has never been asked to help, and we can accomplish our goals using on-campus resources."
Steve Blake, executive director of the Tiger Club, which raised $65,000 for Towson State athletics last year, said alumni support would be the base for any expanded fund-raising efforts. Blake said the group headed by Holdridge wants to make sure football coach Phil Albert has at least 55 scholarships to work with annually.
According to figures released by Hunter, Towson State awarded the equivalent of 45.6 football scholarships this year, at a cost of $338,000. The NCAA maximum for Division I-AA programs is 70, but that number could drop to 63 by 1994 if Proposal 40-1 passes at the NCAA convention in January.
On Nov. 5, Hunter said that football's supporters would need "to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $150,000 annually," enough money to fund 20 scholarships.
Proposed NCAA restructuring would require Towson State to spend an additional $148,000 on its non-revenue teams -- those other than football and basketball -- by 1993. Holdridge's fund-raising plan would lessen the athletic department's outlay for football scholarships.
John Connolly, IAC chairman, told the Washington Post that the plan for fund-raising and marketing "looks feasible. It's not short term, it's long term . . . I don't see how we can afford not to give this a chance."
"The [IAC] meeting was very positive," Hunter said. "Jim Holdridge and his group shared a well-constructed plan.