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Old Dominion University will field a football team in fall 2009 if financial and other milestones are met, the university's board of visitors voted Tuesday.

By a 14-0 vote, the board approved a plan that would see NCAA Div. I-AA football played at a remodeled Foreman Field provided that:

- A consultant, who is now being sought, confirms the university's study and determines there is sufficient community interest to support the level of projected annual donations by Dec. 1, 2005;

- A commitment to make sufficient land acquisitions and associated facilities available to support the program is obtained by Dec. 1, 2005; and

- Pledges for an $8 million endowment be received by June 1, 2006.

The plan also would be contingent on the collection of a $7-per-credit-hour increase in student fees, which would be phased in beginning in 2006. Student admission to football games would be free under the plan.

"I think we have shown over the years that Old Dominion is truly a great university that achieves what it sets out to do," said President Roseann Runte, who added that academic achievement and ethics will not be compromised by the plan. "This means that we can achieve selective excellence in an expanded number of areas."

The football initiative resulted from heightened student interest in the topic and the university's master plan, which calls for as many as 6,000 students -- almost a third of the university's current enrollment -- to be living on campus in coming years. State enrollment figures for ODU also point to a substantial enrollment increase in the next several years.

"Students are voting right now with their feet," said Dana Burnett, vice president for student services and dean of students, regarding student support this year of Monarch and Lady Monarch basketball at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. "I think what they're seeking is a sense of community. What they're seeking is a place they can invest their energy in school spirit. They want to stay here on campus and find things to do."

If the football plan is successful, the university must also add a number of women's sports as part of NCAA Title IX guidelines. Some 90 participants and 63 scholarships must then be added to women's sports. A football program would entail a similar number of scholarships and participants. The university would begin offering women's crew racing in 2007, softball in 2009 and volleyball in 2015, ODU Athletic Director Jim Jarrett said. ODU currently offers eight intercollegiate sports each for men and women, he said.

In a proposal presented Tuesday to the board, university administrators said their 10-year plan, which includes Title IX considerations and all facility improvements, is based on 6,000 tickets sold per game. NCAA Div. I-AA teams surveyed as a part of of the plan said they sold approximately 8,300 tickets per game. Single tickets would cost about $20, based on 5-6 home games per season.

The consultant on the football project will research sponsorship opportunities and project ticket revenues, administrators said. The university will need to acquire land for football practice fields and facilities for ODU's other athletic programs, they noted.

The $8 million in funding includes added parking for games on campus and a special area for tailgate parties. Officials said they are also examining sponsorship and naming rights for Foreman Field.

This article was posted on: June 15, 2005

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.