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Great West to Stay at Five Football Teams For Now
Contrary to a report suggesting that Utah Valley could soon add football, the new Great West Conference member is unlikely to join Cal Poly in the sport in the near future, school officials said Tuesday.
“It was probably exaggerated a little bit,” Utah Valley athletics director Michael Jacobsen said of the Friday report by The Salt Lake Tribune’s Maggie Thach.
In the report, entitled, “Football next big step for Utah Valley,” Thach wrote Jacobsen had indicated “UVU would be able to accomplish another big goal - adding football.”
Utah Valley’s announcement of joining the Great West - which on July 10 turned from a four-year-old, football-only quintet including Cal Poly to an all-sports conference - generated widespread speculation regarding the school’s football status.
Also, the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah published an editorial Friday about “football dreams in the minds of some UVU students, alumni and administrators.”
Benefits to Cal Poly of the conference incorporating a sixth football program would be twofold.
First, it would alleviate non-conference scheduling difficulties, which resulted in a slate this upcoming season featuring four games in the Central time zone and assembled with several reportedly six-figure appearance-fee contracts (totaling at least $780,000).
Even more importantly, perhaps, it would eventually satisfy the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) requirement of six teams for a conference to be awarded an automatic postseason bid.
Jacobsen, though, said hopefuls shouldn’t hold their breath.
“I came to this school 24 years ago, and I thought we would’ve been playing football long ago,” he said. “We do not have a timeline whatsoever.”
The cost of such an undertaking would be about $2.5 million, Jacobsen estimated.
While Utah Valley is in the process of building a track facility that would offer a field adequate for football, Jacobsen said, it would lack appropriate seating capabilities.
Utah Valley, which becomes active at the Division I level in 2009-10, grew quickly from a trade school competing at the community-college level seven years ago.
“Right now (adding football) is not on the agenda,” Jacobsen explained. “We’re trying to pay for the sports we have.”
Utah Valley assistant sports information director Dave Kimball reiterated the school doesn’t have “any plans right now,” but isn’t “shut off to the idea.”
The five other charter schools in the all-sports outfit are Houston Baptist, New Jersey Institute of Technology, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas-Pan American.
Through a news release, the Great West announced the new look could help in “attracting recognition to the league’s football success.”
For now, though, its only new schools playing football - North Dakota and South Dakota - have already been preparing for their first year on the gridiron within what was the Great West Football Conference.
They’ll supplant North Dakota State and South Dakota State, which both left for the Gateway Football Conference. UC Davis and Southern Utah make up the rest of the Great West’s football contingent, in addition to Cal Poly.
Great West to stay at five football teams
By Donovan Aird, The Mustang Daily