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Moulton: My One Requirement for New FGCU AD: Forget About Football
NAPLES — Beginning Tuesday, five men and one woman will interview over the next two weeks to determine who will thrust FGCU athletics into the big, bad world of Division I sports. If I was on the hiring committee, I would ask the six finalists one question. “Do you want football at FGCU?”
Every candidate that answered “Yes” would be disqualified.
Football at FGCU?! Oh, please. How many reasons do you need as to why this is a really bad idea? Off the top of my head …
No. 1 — FGCU needs an athletic director who can raise money. Football does nothing but cost money. Big money. Money that FGCU does not have. Money that FGCU will not have unless they win Powerball.
No. 2 — The state of Florida already has seven D-I football programs — Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, Central Florida, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, and Jacksonville is making the jump to become the eighth. That’s not counting the handful of historically black colleges that play I-AA football. It’s not like any kid who plays football in Southwest Florida doesn’t have a place to go play after high school.
No. 3 — You need a stadium to play in. Southwest Florida does not have one. To build one will cost tens of millions of dollars.
No. 4 — No one will come to see FGCU play. Don’t believe me? Virtually everyone from Southwest Florida is from somewhere else. They are already very loyal to their Gators, Buckeyes, Wolverines, Badgers, Noles, Canes, Gophers, etc …. Do you think they are going to miss watching one of their teams play to go pay $15 to watch FGCU play Bethune-Cookman? No way.
No. 5 — They won’t win. No one ever does for quite awhile. How well is that going to go over?
No. 6 — They would probably have to leave the Atlantic Sun Conference. The A-Sun does not play football. The conference has no intention of doing so. If FGCU were to start playing football they would have to leave a conference where most of their teams are already very competitive. They would likely end up in the Sun Belt Conference. Yes, FAU and FIU are among the 13 schools in the conference. A couple of nearby football rivals would be nice. The problem is the University of Denver, North Texas and Arkansas Little-Rock are also in the Sun Belt. Can you say travel expenses?
And not just for football. Remember, joining a conference means soccer, swimming, golf and tennis as well. FGCU does not need to be traveling 2,500 miles to play a conference tennis match or a round of golf. I mean if they are going to do that, join the Big Ten.
No. 7 — Bigger is not always better. You need to know your place. Southwest Florida is not and likely never will be Miami, Tampa, Orlando or Jacksonville. From what I’ve gathered over the last nine years, most everyone who lives here does not want it to be Miami, Tampa, Orlando or Jacksonville. Nothing wrong with being a diamond in the rough. Rush Limbaugh once described it as “being a whale in a bathtub.”
What’s wrong with FGCU being the Gonzaga of the South? Gonzaga is surrounded by Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, UNLV, Utah and BYU — bigger schools in bigger conferences. But they knew their place. A small to midsize school in a small to midsize community, which is a member of a small to midsize conference. They play almost all the same sports as FGCU. Everyone knows about Gonzaga because of a famous alum (John Stockton) and the sport he played (basketball).
Can Gonzaga beat the likes of Florida and Arizona in football? No. Can they in basketball? They already have. FGCU will never beat the big boys in football, either. But within two years, they already have in women’s basketball. Give them time. Remember, whale in a bathtub!
FGCU Football sounds great, but they’re not ready. They are not even close to ready. USF played sports for 20 years before they started up a football team. The only reason they could play football is that the Tampa Bay Bucs had a stadium for them to play in. Now if the Lee County pols giving the Red Sox their new ballpark, attach a multi-purpose football stadium to the project, then this subject has some merit to it.
Otherwise, as the say in Jersey …
Football at FGCU … “Fuh-git-about it.”