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Football in UVU's future?
The announcement that Utah Valley University will join the Great West Conference surely must have sparked football dreams in the minds of some UVU students, alumni and administrators.
After all, sports and daydreams go together. How would Babe Ruth do against Sandy Koufax? Could the 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers beat the 1990 San Francisco 49ers? And daydreams about football seem to have remarkable power.
True, UVU has never had a football team. On its Web site, the university says, “Sorry, but there are not any plans to start a football team at this time.”
Still, we must note that it’s one of the ten most-asked questions around UVU: “Are there any plans to start a football program?” This suggests that the dream lives, and someday …
SLOW DISSOLVE to a crisp, sunny Saturday afternoon in the fall. UVU alumni gather on the Orem campus for tailgate picnics and the chance to reminisce about the old days.
Suddenly, they are swept up in a tide of students flowing into the new football facility west of the freeway (Sederburg Field?). The crowd is excited and happy; after all, they need something to cheer for; nobody wants to cheer for a library or an English department, no matter how worthy.
Then the Wolverines, in their resplendent green colors, take the field against the New Jersey Institute of Technology, a member of the Great West Conference. (That school doesn’t play football yet either, but bear with us because this is a daydream.)
Airline cost cutting has crammed the Highlanders into tiny seats on a 15-hour flight from the East Coast. Their luggage was lost, so they have to play in their street clothes and are walloped by the Wolverines 42-3.
After the game, affluent UVU alumni, warmed to generosity by the lopsided score, write out checks for their alma mater. And in the following weeks, the admissions office gets a flood of applications from student athletes who saw the video on the Daily Herald’s Web site and are stampeding toward what they see as a new path to the NFL.
Of course, UVU’s rise as a football power has its bumps. The following year, the Wolverines play New Jersey again at their stadium in lovely Newark. Tired from a 23-hour flight and suffering from culture shock, the Wolverines lose 48-0. On the return trip they have to spend three days at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
The team eventually recovers and begins to amass victories. It all starts with electrifying wins over North Dakota State and Texas Pan-American. In later years, Southern Utah and UC-Davis are victims.
Royalty checks flood in from TV rights and people buying UVU jerseys and sweatshirts, having seen rappers wearing them in the latest music videos. As the dough rolls in and the crowds swell, the once-new facility seems too small for the program. (Since we’re dreaming, we might as well dream big.)
News reports say the Pittsburgh Steelers are up for sale, and could even be moved. The team is looking for a venue historically tied to steel, and the shores of Utah Lake are perfect. An 85,000 seat stadium to be shared by the Steelers and Wolverines is proposed, and the Legislature can’t resist funding it. Local companies line up for naming rights.
And then, in the sweetest daydream of all, the Wolverines’ latest victim packs up their blue and white uniforms and drives home, four miles east on University Parkway.
Hey, we can dream, can’t we? After all, it wasn’t so long ago that turning Utah Technical College into a university might have seemed equally preposterous.