Athletics Director Mary McElroy's open letter to the Georgia State University community on the football feasability study

Greetings Georgia State Community:

As you may know, seven months ago Georgia State's Athletic Department engaged CH Johnson Consulting to conduct a feasibility study that would look at the interest and potential costs for Georgia State to add a football team to our varsity sport offerings. The consulting team has done a very thorough job, including a survey that many of you completed. We have now received the report, however, I must stress that at this time no decisions have been made regarding the addition of football. We will begin to look at the particulars identified in the study as they relate to Georgia State University and its goals.

While it appears that the majority of our students, faculty/staff and alumni who responded to the survey have expressed some emotional support for adding football at Georgia State, what remains to be seen is whether football fits into the strategic plan for the university and whether there is the necessary financial support among students, alumni and donors for adding football.

We will be conducting town hall meetings where we will invite various constituents to engage in dialogue on the issue. We are looking to make an informed university community decision regarding football, so we need to gather appropriate feedback as we move forward.

Below is a summary of the findings of the feasibility study:

The financial impact of adding football has four major components: the football program, additional women's sports to maintain gender equity, additional staff in the Athletic Department to support the additional sports, and facilities costs (for practice and competition).

The cost of a Division I-AA football program ranges between $2 Million and $3 Million annually.

The cost of adding women's sports is estimated at $1 Million annually.

The cost of additional staff is estimated at $800,000 annually.

The facilities costs range from $2.4 Million to $20 Million annually, depending on the scenario selected.

$2.4 Million: Involves renting the Georgia Dome for football games, building a football practice facility at Panthersville

$2.5 Million: Involves renting and improving the Panthersville stadium, building a football practice facility at Panthersville

$5.0 Million: Involves renting and improving the Southside stadium, building a football practice facility at Panthersville

$20 Million: Involves replacing the Sports Arena with a stadium/arena, building a football practice facility downtown

Note that in all scenarios, additional administrative space is needed for support staff and coaches, and facilities for the women's sports would be added at Panthersville. The total annual cost of adding football is estimated to be between $6.2 Million and $24.8 Million.

The report recommends that Georgia State increase student athletic fees by $200 (from $284 to $484) to generate $5.2 Million (using 26,000 students as the base) toward the costs and that we seek the additional funds from alumni, donors, and the University, while pursuing other possible revenue streams.

We have posted the entire report for additional information at: PDF: 1.6 MB download-

Courtney Lovely
Assistant to the Director of Athletics
Georgia State University
125 Decatur Street, Ste 201
Atlanta, GA 30303
404-413-4000 (fax)