UTA students approved a fee increase in April to fund football, women's golf and women's soccer.
About two-thirds of the more than 2,100 voters supported the $2 per semester credit-hour increase to the intercollegiate athletics fee. President James D. Spaniolo plans to appoint a committee this summer to examine the impact of adding the sports, particularly football. UTA dropped football in 1985 because it was operating at a deficit.
"I want people to have a chance to participate in this process, and I want it to be very open and realistic," Spaniolo said. "I want as much input as possible from students and other UTA stakeholders."
The non-binding referendum mandates that start-up costs for the programs--estimated by some at $2 million-$3 million--be raised from outside sources. Spaniolo said the University will hire a consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study.
"We need to know if, in fact, this amount of money can be raised," he said. "We need to determine the total cost of operating a program, including starting it up and sustaining it over a period of years."
Brian Happel ('83 BBA), a former UTA football player and president of the Athletics Alumni Chapter, says the group looks forward to working with Spaniolo. "Our chapter will be looked upon to lead the fund-raising efforts for this exciting initiative," he said, "and we are thrilled to do so."
The referendum as it appeared on the ballot:
I support a contingent $2 per credit-hour increase in the intercollegiate athletics fee understanding: 1. This increase be used for the enhancement and expansion of the UTA athletics program, including the addition of three new sports (women's soccer, women's golf, football) 2. This increase may not be collected until the president of the university certifies that funds have been raised from external sources to cover the start-up costs of these new sports.