By Nick Morgan, Sports Editor
T-shirts around campus that read “Eagles Football, Undefeated since 1893” poke fun at the fact that Asbury has never fielded a varsity football team, much to the dismay of students and alumni. Around this time every year, there’s always wishful thinking of having a football team here at Asbury. Cold fall days seem to foster this thought that a football team here would be a viable choice.
More and more Christian schools around the size of Asbury have opened their minds and their wallets for a football team; most recently being Cincinnati Christian. CCU, a co-member of the River States Conference, introduced a football team in the fall of 2016. The school has an enrollment of just over 1,000 students, compared to Asbury’s 1,300, so the simple question: “Why couldn’t Asbury feasibly field a football team?”
There are a lot of pros to having a football team, but there are also a lot of issues to work around. Some of the pros include a boost to the male to female ratio at Asbury, which currently sits at 41/59 in favor of the girls, and an overall boost to the total enrollment. Another pro is the financial stimulation that comes with having another sports team in ticket sales, which a very tempting reason to add a team. Aside from all the tangible pros, it would be great to have a football team to go cheer for on Saturday afternoons; it would bring the student body closer together and it could arguably boost campus morale.
On the flip side of that, and the main reason why there is no Eagles Football Team, are the cons, which significantly outweigh the pros. First, the main source of revenue that comes from a football team is ticket sales, but tickets require a stadium to sell seats for. Unfortunately, with the recent development of the Kirkland Complex, the indoor batting facility, the guest house, and the upcoming plans for the student center renovations and the new Business and Science building, the funds for building a new football stadium are pretty scarce. There was talk a few years ago of building a stadium in Nicholasville where the area high schools and Asbury would play their football games, but that plan fell through as Asbury did not show interest in forming a team.
On top of that, the school would have to find a way to pay for uniforms, insurance and scholarships for the players. In addition, the enrollment numbers would grow with the addition of a team, not only from the football team in general, but from students choosing to come to Asbury based on the fact that we have a team. This could lead to a new overflow of students in the dorms, cafeteria and classrooms, causing a need to renovate or build new buildings, another cost for Asbury.
Everything aside, there should be a cautious approach when it comes to such a major undertaking as a football program. While it would be an incredible experience for players, students and alumni alike, a football team is not a possibility, at least in the near future.