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  • Lamar adds Football

    Sounds like Billy Tubbs and the gang are about to make a go of it.

    Is Lamar University ready to revive football program?
    By: PERRYN KEYS, The Enterprise
    Updated 11/21/2007 11:38:52 AM CST
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    BEAUMONT - Students at Lamar University could vote as soon as January to approve a fee that would help reinstate the school's football program, President Jimmy Simmons said this week. In separate interviews Monday and Tuesday, Simmons made it clear the return of football still has quite a few hurdles. To help cover the costs of renovating facilities and funding the athletics department, the university would need: Private donations; Students to pass the referendum, allowing the university to charge an athletic fee; and Approval from the Texas State University System Board of Regents. If that happens, football might return to the school for the first time since 1989. "Bottom line: We think we would attract several thousand more students to the university," Simmons said. "We would add a marching band and a drill team, and we just think adding football would be a great gateway for the rest of our university." Last summer, the state Legislature passed a measure giving schools within the Texas State University System permission to charge students an athletic fee, with a maximum of $8.75 per credit-hour. The fee can differ from school to school and from project to project. Simmons said the university is currently getting additional information, or a cost analysis, from an engineering firm on renovating the football stadium and Higgins Field House. The firm, Simmons said, will provide the university a total cost estimate for renovating those facilities. "This would be a viable plan - provided that the final cost-analysis is in range with our student-fee income and the private donations we believe we can raise for the program," Simmons said. "Hopefully, we'll have that (analysis) within the next four weeks. That should put the finishing touches on our financial analysis."

    Thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, $1.5 million is already earmarked for rebuilding the Cardinal Stadium press box, which was blown to pieces by Hurricane Rita. In February, the Board of Regents approved $6.5 million toward improving other parts of the stadium and $3.6 million toward improving Higgins Field House. At their last meeting, however, the Board of Regents upped the number on Higgins Field House from $3.6 million to $5 million. But Lamar must find the funds on its own.The main hurdle for Lamar has always been Texas law, which prohibits state money from going directly to athletics. In other words, while the university has the initial go-ahead to raise money toward making the improvements, it won't get a single dollar from the state. A large chunk of the total bill for starting football would have to come from private donations, Simmons said. But the student fee would help with construction costs and day-to-day operations for the athletics department. The fee would go not only toward football, Simmons said, but also toward adding a soccer field and another women's sport in the future, thereby staying in compliance with Title IX. "At the end of January, if everything comes to pass, we would go to the students and ask them to vote on a referendum," Simmons said. The referendum would require a simple majority from the students. If the student body votes yes, Lamar would then seek permission from the Board of Regents to institute the fee, and to bring back football, at the board's February meeting. "We would pledge a certain amount from that (student athletic-fee) income toward seeking bonded funding for the renovations," Simmons said. Given permission, Simmons said, the university would set about looking for a football coach "immediately." Hopefully, Simmons said, facility renovations and recruiting would begin in 2008. n 2009, the coach would bring in his first round of recruits and "redshirt" them - a common policy in college athletics, meaning the players practice for one season without playing in games. That fall, the team would possibly play a handful of exhibitions. Finally, Simmons said, the team could begin playing a conference schedule as early as 2010. The school's Board of Regents killed football after the 1989 season, citing high costs of running the program and low levels of success and support. The Cardinals posted a 31-77-1 record through the 1980s. According to Enterprise archives, Lamar lost some $4.3 million in football over the program's final 10 years, including $523,925 in 1989 alone. Advertisement "What I think many people forget about is the enrollment-management side of football," Simmons said. "You add players, cheerleaders and band members - and there are many other students who won't go to a school that doesn't have football. "We think (adding football) would bring about 2,000 students to the university, and that improves academic funding. There's a reason they have football at Sul Ross State, Angelo State, Sam Houston and all those other places." Simmons and athletics director Billy Tubbs have long been supportive of returning football to the university, but have never revealed a plan or a timeline for bringing the sport back. Both men were at the university when football was still a part of its culture. Simmons' career at Lamar started in 1970, when he began as a faculty member and director of the school's marching band. Tubbs played basketball at the school from 1955-57; then spent his first stint as the school's head basketball coach from 1976-80.

    Updated 11/21/2007 11:38:52 AM CST
    ©The Beaumont Enterprise 2007

  • #2
    2000 more students???

    I doubt it will be difficult to get students in Texas to approve a fee to reinstate football. Even in Texas, I'd be highly skeptical that football will increase enrollment 20%.


    • #3
      Engineers Examine Cardinal Stadium While LU Studies Possible Return of Football Program
      Jennifer Heathcock
      November 28, 2007 - 7:16PM
      An employee of an engineering firm, with blueprints in hand, checked out Cardinal Stadium Wednesday morning to look at what it would take to get the stadium ready for the return of football for the first time since 1989.
      Regents with the Texas State University System got the ball rolling last week when they voted to set aside $12 million for Cardinal Stadium renovations. Administrators say it would also take private donations, likely in the millions, although they won't be specific; student approval of an athletic fee of up to $8.75 per semester hour; and approval from the Texas State University System board of regents. Administrators say it's possible students will get to vote in January and regents perhaps a month after that. LU President Dr. Jimmy Simmons believes a football program could attract thousands of new students to the campus. Students have the opportunity to reinstate a Texas tradition. "I like the idea of a football team," said Trey Gaspard, an LU freshman. "It'll bring in more students to campus." Regents dropped the ball on the sport nearly 20 years ago. During the past few years, administrators have been studying what it would take to resurrect the sport. "It would be a boost in morale for the campus and the community, give an opportunity to surrounding areas with football teams," said Joshua Pullin, an LU sophomore." Pullin and others at Lamar believe the team would be able to attract some of the top local high school players from the region, but not all students agree with the return of football. "I just think a lot of people are opposed to it because they do come here because it's cheaper and it's close to home," said Jesse Raposa, an LU sophomore." Student fees would help pay for the return of football. I"m already paying $170 for a library fee and $2 for a study abroad program," said Trey Gaspard. "I personally haven't set foot in the library." Some feel the money would be well spent, but they all understand the money would pull in more students, meaning more money for Lamar. "2000 more students would increase our budget about $6 million," said LU Athletic Director Billy Tubbs. Tubbs says the increase would more than pay for football. "Though I don't like it, I think it would bring a lot more people to the school," said Tyler Emerson, an LU sophomore. "You can't move forward on football without total support of the student body," said Tubbs. If everything falls into place and regents approve the return of football, recruiting could begin as early as 2009. Tubbs says the team might play its first games in 2010.


      • #4
        Football fee plan adjusted to benefit students
        12/4/2007 If Lamar University students approve a referendum in January to start a football program at Lamar University, and the Texas State University System Board of Regents approves the measure in February, it will start the clock running toward the first conference games in Fall 2010.These actions would immediately create the need for money to hire a coach, to begin renovations and construction on a football complex and to support other activities related to bringing the sport to Lamar. To secure the funds, the university would issue revenue bonds against the anticipated revenue generated by the student fee. Originally, the university administration had planned to begin charging the student fee in Fall 2008, collecting the fees during the two years before the beginning of conference play in order to have funds available for construction. The revised plan is to defer the student fee until Fall 2009. The university will meet the needs during the first year from other revenue sources. Football scrimmage games would begin in Fall 2009. To make the proposal better for students, the administration plans to provide non-transferable four-year season passes to all students who pay the fee during 2009. Under the new plan, all students will have opportunity to experience four years of conference football, said Billy Tubbs, director of athletics.In the plan under consideration, all students who pay the football fees in 2009 will receive non-transferable season passes to all home games during the LU football seasons in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. “We want to be certain that all students who help bring back football get as much opportunity to participate as others,” said James Simmons, president of Lamar University. “We believe this new plan will allow all students who pay the football fee in 2009 to be a part of excitement.” In the current “best case” timeline, a football coach would be hired in Spring 2008, after board approval is received, and begin building the program by recruiting the first 30 players. Construction on the football complex would begin and be completed by Fall 2009.In the 2009 season, the team would play intra squad scrimmage games, with 30 players on scholarship. An additional 30 players would be recruited, bringing the squad total to 60. Conference play would begin in fall 2010.


        • #5
          I like the 4 year season pass thing. I wonder what the enrollment at WSU would do if something like this ever happens. That could be one crazy semester for number of students enrolled.


          • #6
            I grew up in Texas and know how football crazy that state is. My high school which was regularly in contention for the state championship drew more people than many small colleges. Talent is everywhere and fans are everywhere. Making money on football in Texas is like trying to find ice at the North Pole.

            I nearly fell out of my chair when I read that Lamar didn't currently have a football program. If Texas colleges have not been able to maintain their football programs, that tells you everything you need to know about why WSU doesn't have one.
            The fact that man is master of his actions is due to his being able to deliberate about them.-- Thomas Aquinas


            • #7
              Well for all of you haters and lovers, here is the latest...

              Lamar wants to bring back football, but it takes more than want-to; it takes money - a lot of it
              By PERRYN KEYS, The Enterprise 12/16/2007 Tammy McKinley/The Enterprise

              Workers begin tearing down the press box at Cardinal Stadium at Lamar University in Beaumont on Friday. The press box has been condemned since Hurricane Rita. BEAUMONT - A football program has not yet returned to Lamar University, but construction work to Cardinal Stadium has already begun Actually, it's deconstruction work.Last week, crews started to disassemble the press box atop Lamar's football facility, taking down wooden boards and window panes that have stood, lifelessly, for more than two years since Hurricane Rita blew through town.The press box was condemned shortly thereafter. The bottom floor was boarded up and locked. The second floor stood open, some of its walls blown away, revealing tangled chairs and random debris, all of which remained until last week."Even if we don't bring a football team back," President Jimmy Simmons said, "rebuilding that press box will be a worthwhile thing because of the high school teams that can play in there."But here's the thing: Lamar is indeed trying to bring football back, with designs on hiring a coach as soon as next year, then playing Southland Conference games by 2010.If the university can do it, rebuilding the press box at Cardinal Stadium is just the beginning.Much tougher tasks lie ahead.As Simmons outlined late last month, Lamar could be on the verge of restoring a football program that hasn't been around since Dec. 14, 1989, when the university's then-board of regents voted 5-4 to kill the sport.To bring it back, the university will have to improve its facilities, including Cardinal Stadium and Higgins Field House, just to be on par with its potential Southland Conference rivals.The university would also have other one-time start-up costs, which could include everything from locker-room equipment to furniture for the coaches' offices.But before Lamar takes on any of those tasks, it needs three major things to bring back football:Students must vote to charge themselves an athletic fee in a referendum that will likely happen next month.If a simple majority of students votes yes, the university will ask its governing body, the Texas State University Board of Regents, for permission to charge the fee and to bring back football.Finally, the student fee will not pay the entire bill for starting a football program.To make up the difference, the university will need private donations - probably in the millions.Simmons and athletics director Billy Tubbs have said they've gotten encouraging news on all three fronts - but there are no lead-pipe guarantees on any of the three."The fact of the matter is, we did not just wake up a couple of weeks ago and decide we wanted to start football," Tubbs said. "We've been looking at this for three to five years, and you don't go into this without very detailed planning. I think we've done our homework on it."Lamar is able to tear down its press box right now because it's not picking up the tab. Since the press box was a casualty of the hurricane, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has committed $1.5 million to rebuilding it.Lamar has, however, looked into improving the press box, rather than just replacing it as it was. Tubbs declined to go into much detail, but he conceded the university has at least discussed adding things such as a new elevator and suites for potential high-roller donors, thereby keeping up with the Joneses in Division I-AA."We don't just want to start a football program and say, 'That's it.' We can't do it halfway," Tubbs said. "Who are you recruiting against? What are their facilities like? We have to be comparable to those other programs, or we won't have a successful football team - period."To that end, Lamar must renovate the rest of the stadium, which has been all but untouched since the LU football team died in 1989.FEMA won't be giving any more help with that - or with Higgins Field House, which holds the locker rooms and coaches' offices. To fund all of those projects, Lamar must get the money on its own.Earlier this month, an engineering firm inspected Cardinal Stadium and Higgins Field House; the firm will give Lamar a laundry list of what it deems to be necessary improvements - which could include everything from new restrooms and concession stands to revamping the walkways and front gates.Simmons and Tubbs also said they expected Cardinal Stadium will need improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires commercial facilities to be accessible to those with physical limitations."These people are professionals," Tubbs said of the engineering firm. "They've looked at that whole stadium, and they've been involved with some other universities before, so they know what those other places have done. You might call them experts at this kind of stuff."Simmons said the university is waiting for a final report from the firm. After that, it would get plans from an architect, which must be approved by the Board of Regents.Only then, Simmons said, will Lamar know just how much money it needs.Simmons has declined to even guess on what the total bill might be. Rest assured, it will be well into the millions.In February, the Texas State Board of Regents approved $6.5 million toward improving other parts of the stadium and $3.6 million toward improving Higgins Field House. At their last meeting, however, the Board of Regents upped the number on Higgins Field House to $5 million.That doesn't mean Lamar has the money in its pocketbooks; Texas law, in fact, prohibits state money from going directly toward athletics or toward athletic facilities.t simply means Lamar has an initial green light to seek that much money from somewhere else.That's where private donations come in.Lamar has not officially started a campaign for private donations, but Simmons said that, based on early discussions with potential donors, he feels confident the university will get the money it needs.This much is certain: Lamar has its hands out. The school will not only listen to just about anyone with a checkbook, Tubbs said, it will also actively seek donations, both from individuals and corporations.Tubbs conceded the need for private dollars - lots of them - is simply a must in modern college athletics.As a native Oklahoman, he pointed to the two largest football programs in his home state, where Oklahoma State's home field is now dubbed T. Boone Pickens Stadium, in honor of the super-booster who made a landmark $165 million donation.Likewise, Oklahoma's football home is now the Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium, in honor of booster Edward L. Gaylord, who donated more than $50 million to OU.Lamar's requests won't be quite as ambitious, but Tubbs said the university wouldn't mind changing or altering Cardinal Stadium's name in honor of a high-dollar donor."We would definitely like someone whom we could name the stadium after," Tubbs said. "But it goes way beyond that. There's all kinds of things out there - all kinds of donations we need. Let's say your family wanted to have the So-And-So Family Video Room in the field house. Well, for a certain amount, maybe you can have that video room named after you."Donations aside, officials at Lamar are quick to stress that football is a dead issue if its student body doesn't pass the referendum.A yes vote would add a fee to full-time students' tuition and send the windfall to the athletics department.Simmons has said a portion of the fee would be committed to bonded funding for the facility renovations, while the rest would go toward the athletics department.Obi Arisukwu, president of the Student Government Association, said there is no way to know for certain, but he feels as though most students are clamoring for football to return to campus."Probably, the three things I get asked about the most are the dining hall, the rec center and the football team," Arisukwu said. "I think when students find out how much it will cost them - as long as it's not ... out of this world, they'll probably be for it."The Lamar administration certainly hopes so."There's quite a few kinks to be worked out," Tubbs said. "But for the most part, I think everything's going to kind of fall into place."


              Updated 12/15/2007 10:52:20 PM CST
              ©The Beaumont Enterprise 2007


              • #8
                Maybe I am just beating a dead horse here as there isn't a lot of activity on these threads but here is the latest update on Lamar Football.

                Lamar plans return of football in 2010
                Students vote in favor of paying an athletics fee

                By PERRYN KEYS
                Beaumont Enterprise

                BEAUMONT — Inside the Plummer Administration Building, an old Baldwin piano sits next to the desk of Lamar University President Jimmy Simmons. It is largely ignored these days.But at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, on one of the most pivotal days in school history, Simmons made the old thing sing."Y'all know this one?" he asked, sitting down in front of the 88 keys.Sporting a smile you can't buy, Simmons hammered out the Lamar fight song. Thanks to the results of a student referendum, he might get to play it in Cardinal Stadium again.As an anxious campus waited late Thursday morning, Lamar officials announced 79 percent of 1,249 students who cast ballots on Tuesday and Wednesday hadoverwhelmingly voted in favor of paying an athletics fee — $8.75 per credit hour — that would help reinstate the school's football program.Now, armed with a guaranteed stream of revenue that could generate more than $2 million annually, Lamar will point toward resurrecting a football program that has been dormant since 1989. The plan is to have a Division I-AA team, with a full allotment of 63 scholarships, ready to play in 2010.To begin charging the fee — and to hire a coach, which Simmons hopes to do by this fall — Lamar must get approval from the Texas State University System Board of Regents. Lamar plans to ask permission from the Board at its next round of meetings Feb. 21-22 in Beaumont.In addition to the athletics fee, Lamar will also need millions more in private donations to update its football facilities.Last year, the Board approved Lamar's seeking $11.5 million in renovations to Cardinal Stadium and Higgins Field House. But because Texas law prohibits state money from going toward athletics, Lamar must raise those funds on its own.



                • #9
                  I find all this info interesting. WSU has the resources to do this. A number of these schools that have plans on adding football don't have what we do. Granted, some may have better recruiting areas but I think WSU could overcome that.
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                  • #10
                    WSU's problem is that the only real way to pay for football going forward (which is always better than going backward ) is through student fees. I think WSU could do it for at or less than $5 per credit hour. But I have serious doubts that they would agree to it (via vote).


                    • #11
                      Breaking News: Regents Unanimously Approve Fee to Fund LU Football

                      Jennifer Heathcock
                      February 22, 2008 - 10:38AM
                      Regents with the Texas State University System have approved an athletic fee to help pay for the return of football to the Lamar University campus. The 8 regents present unanimously approved the fee Friday during their meeting at Lamar University. One regent was absent. Last month, students voted in favor of paying $8.75 per semester hour to help fund a football program. The fee will be $4.50 per semester hour during the summer. It'll take effect in 2009. Lamar ended its football program in 1989. LU Athletic Director Billy Tubbs says a final decision on whether football should make a comeback is a couple of months away. Renovations are already underway at Cardinal Stadium to repair the press box. It was damaged in Hurricane Rita. The next steps include hiring an architect, getting approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and asking donors to contribute toward the return of football. LU President Dr. Jimmy Simmons hopes to have a coach in place by August. The team would take the field in 2010. Thursday, the Board of Regents Finance Committee approved the fee.


                      Lamar will issue bonds to help fund football facility renovations By PERRYN KEYS, The Enterprise
                      Updated 02/28/2008 03:26:44 PM CST
                      BEAUMONT - Lamar University is still hunting for money. Just not as much.
                      To help pay for renovations to its football facilities, the university will issue bonds and gradually pay them off with money gained from its new student athletics fee, President Jimmy Simmons said Monday.The new fee was approved last Friday by the Texas State University System Board of Regents. Starting in fall 2009, students will pay $8.75 per semester credit-hour in the fall and spring, and $4.50 per credit-hour in the summer.
                      The fee will likely bring in more than $2 million annually and go straight to the athletics department, helping with the costs of reinstating football at Lamar."We'll take that student fee and use a portion of it to bond money to the majority of the renovations," Simmons said by cell phone Monday. "At this point, we don't know the exact amount we'll need. But it's not as ominous (needing) tens of millions in private donations."
                      Citing a Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board statute, Simmons made it clear the university will still need private donations to finish the projects.The statute requires that private donations fund at least 25 percent of building renovations."We won't know for sure until we get the numbers, but we expect that we'll need $5 million or less (in private money). ... Of course, if someone wants to give us more than $5 million, that would be terrific," Simmons said with a chuckle. "We wouldn't turn it down. It would certainly give us some more flexibility."Simmons said the university's timeline for the upcoming year will be something like this:

                      Get a final cost assessment from architects;

                      Get approval to begin construction from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;

                      Raise money through private donations;

                      Hire a football coach, preferably by August; and finally;

                      Begin renovations to Cardinal Stadium and Higgins Field House.

                      Simmons said he expects that each year, the athletics department will still have some money left from the student fee after it makes its bond payments.The remainder of that money will go toward the athletics department budget.Lamar plans to issue the bonds through the Texas State University System.



                      • #12
                        I love basketball and football, but there is nothing that beats the pagentry of college football. There is no better way than to spend Saturday tailgating with your buddies and watching a football game. Our tailgating group has about 20 to 30 people for every game. My buddy and I always time going into the stadium so we walk beside the marching band as they are marching into the stadium, playing the Arizona fight song. If that doesn't get your blood going, nothing will.


                        • #13
                          For those that care, here is what Lamar will have to do to get its stadium ready for Football. Pretty good comparision to Cessna.

                          Here is the stadium report.[/img]


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GarH
                            I love basketball and football, but there is nothing that beats the pagentry of college football. There is no better way than to spend Saturday tailgating with your buddies and watching a football game. Our tailgating group has about 20 to 30 people for every game. My buddy and I always time going into the stadium so we walk beside the marching band as they are marching into the stadium, playing the Arizona fight song. If that doesn't get your blood going, nothing will.
                            Of course there is quite a bit of difference between tailgating in the warm fall weather of Arizona and freezing one's tail off in the bitter weather of Wichita, Kansas. Now that I think about it, I think the number one thing that would cause me to become a supporter of football returning to WSU is if it included a plan to turn Cessna stadium into a dome.
                            The fact that man is master of his actions is due to his being able to deliberate about them.-- Thomas Aquinas


                            • #15
                              This is great. I really hope Lamar Football is successful. I hope we will be next.