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Would a Football Program Benefit Seton Hall?
The state of New Jersey is now a college football powerhouse, thanks to Rutgers.
Rutgers, a Big East Conference school, found a way to attract high school football stars from New Jersey and New York to play NCAA football in their own backyards. However, Rutgers is the only New Jersey school that has a big-time program whereas Seton Hall, another Big East Conference school from New Jersey, does not have a football program to establish.
Rutgers in all other NCAA sports is arguably Seton Hall’s biggest rival. In basketball, they play each other twice a year. In baseball, they play each other three times a year. They play each other every year in soccer and volleyball, but only a few times in history they played each other in football.
A football team was established at Seton Hall in 1882, playing their first game against Fordham. But after 100 years playing on the gridiron, their football program discontinued.
Seton Hall, since 1982, has never been able to reincarnate their football program due to a lack of funding and interest in reincarnating one. There is also not enough land in South Orange or Newark to build a football stadium. The Newark area is filled with neighborhoods and businesses that are neck and neck from each other.
There are many sports fans in the area that follow the NFL as well as the NBA, MLB, and NHL. College football, however, is not a popular sport in the Seton Hall community.
But what if a college football program at Seton Hall was to be reincarnated?
If the NCAA was to put Seton Hall football in the Big East, the school’s football program would have a very tough time competing with Rutgers. Rutgers in the past few seasons has recruited one of the top three classes in the Big East. They will enter the 2009 season with the best recruiting class in the conference, which is also one of the top 25 recruiting classes in the country.
Nearly 50 percent of Rutgers’ recruits since 2006 came from New Jersey and New York high schools. There are many other big-time college football programs that recruit high school football players from New Jersey and New York. Successful Big East schools like West Virginia, Connecticut, and Cincinnati are big-team college football programs that recruit top tier players from the high schools of these states.
Seton Hall as a football program would more likely face a tough road in getting top tier players from high school. Instead, Seton Hall thrives on basketball, thanks to the history of success from their men and women’s basketball teams.
The 18,500-seat Prudential Center is electrified with loud-cheering Pirate fans that fill up the seats in every conference rival game. Basketball is a big deal in the Seton Hall community just like football is a big deal in the Rutgers community.
There may be Seton Hall students that love college football, but those students are fans of other college teams.
There is no such thing as a Seton Hall Pirate Football fan.
Would a football program benefit Seton Hall?
by Jason Lockhart, The Seton Hall Pirates Examiner