Fate of Towson football passed to school Senate

November 22, 1990|By Kent Baker

The chairman of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee at Towson State said yesterday that the school's football program "is not out of the woods yet. There is still reason to be concerned. Everything now depends on the [University] Senate."

John Connolly, whose group has reversed its recommendation of last month to suspend the school's football program, said he has no idea what the reaction will be on Dec. 3 when the IAC presents an "information item" to the Senate that will advise the continuation of the sport.

The decision was changed after a task force representing alumni and parents of current players met with the IAC Tuesday to offer a plan to raise the money necessary to supplement athletic department funding for Division I-AA football.

"What this means is that we [IAC] want to carry on with business as usual, to let things be until we see how this business plan works out," Connolly said. "Whether the Senate goes along, God only knows."

Connolly said that as an "information item," the issue cannot be debated in the Senate as a motion would be. But a member of the Senate could decide to place the item in motion form during that body's regular meeting Dec. 3.

Hoke Smith, university president, has rejected a $100 increase in student fees (to $370 annually) as a way to save football, but a small increase in the fees will help combat the $257,000 athletic-department deficit that threatened the sport in the first place.

"Year in and year out, there are modest increments of these fees," Connolly said. "I expect they would rise whether we had football or not."

The athletic program is 94 percent fee-driven, but if the task force is successful on a long-range basis, that number would drop significantly. The school's Tiger Club, the athletic fund-raising arm, raised $100,000 when Towson moved from Division II to Division I-AA five years ago, but that figure has declined rapidly in recent years.

In stepped the task force, which is working on producing the money for 20 football scholarships by 1994, approximately $200,000.

"They made an excellent presentation to us," Connolly said. "Whether they can acquire the funds remains to be seen. But they have put a lot of time and energy into it and got it off the ground in just two weeks. They feel confident.

"This is a boost for football, athletics and Towson State generally. It is a positive story, and I hope it continues to be positive."

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