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Georgia Southern move to FBS?
The student population at Georgia Southern University this past year is nearly 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and with more students beginning their collegiate careers in the fall; the university is only growing.
The influx of students will generate more funds for athletics and more importantly, more fans for the football team. This walks hand-in-hand with the current seating situation within Paulson Stadium and raising questions about whether or not GSU should transfer to a FBS conference.
Currently, Paulson Stadium holds only 18,000 seats for fans, which accounts for families, students and locals from Statesboro.
Clearly, it can neither hold the current student population, nor the addition of players and student families and the locals. The decision now stands as to whether to transition to a larger division, meaning playing larger schools within FBS.
There are many costs and benefits that come with reclassifying GSU into a larger division.
There are numerous changes that would have to be in place in order to finance both the team and the new stadium, which could include charging students for tickets and an increase in ticket prices for the general public.
Many of the student fees would also have to increase in order to support the athletic program in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The amount of success the Eagles would have would be initially low, but over the years, it would grow.
These are a just a few of the primary issues that should be considered. According to the Georgia Southern Reclassification Analysis written by Mcgee-Geiger, the company stated that the Sun Belt Conference in the FBS would be the best location to place the GSU Eagles.
The Eagles would be leaving the Football Championship Series, which incorporates a post-season tournament; and instead, they would be playing in a conference that allows them to be eligible to qualify for notable bowl games for their post-season if they do well in the regular season.
This would cost GSU more money because they have to cover travel costs for away games and other variables.
This and renovating the stadium to house the students and fans would cause GSU to charge students for tickets instead of them using their student identification cards, yet there are some great benefits that come with moving up into a larger conference and division.
GSU would receive a plethora of benefits from reclassifying into a larger conference like the Sun Belt Conference. Playing in a larger conference would make the university more well-known to the nation and there would be a significant increase in recruitment, not only for football, but also for the other sports at GSU.
Comparatively, undergraduate enrollment would also increase because GSU would become more prominent and notable to the rest of the nation.
Increasing ticket prices and athletic fees would generate a lot more revenue for the university and the Eagles would compete against larger schools, adding to the positive prospect of qualifying for a bowl game.
The Eagles would be playing teams such as the University of Louisiana at Monroe and North Texas University. The Sun Belt is also a conference that GSU could keep up with financially as well because of Statesboro’s small community.
Mcgee-Geiger noted that while at their current financial level, GSU would not succeed in FBS; GSU would fare better in the years to come. They even predicted that GSU would be financially ready as soon as 2014, as long as enrollment and interest maintains or increases.
While finances are such a big part of student life both on and off the field, one issue that Mcgee-Geiger and the student population would agree on is that not only do the students have an enormous sense of pride and spirit, but the Statesboro community itself also emanates Eagle pride and spirit, which rivals any school in the FBS conferences.
By Ryan Miller, Georgia Daily (student)