UTT looking to start football program

TYLER (KYTX) - Football is synonymous with East Texas, and most people expect it to be in every school and university in the area.

Now UT Tyler is talking about kicking off a program.

As the old joke goes, Patriot football undefeated since 1971.

That's because the school has never had a football program.

If it's voted in, students will be paying more, and there are plenty of mixed feelings on that.

Most high school players dream of playing college ball, many would like to do it close to home.

"Still gives people the opportunity to make it past," says Johnny McCormick.

McCormick briefly played basketball on the college level, before transferring back to UT Tyler.

He says having more sports on campus can only bring students together.

"Everyone going to more basketball games, soccer games, volleyball, everyone more involved," says McCormick.

"Increase tuition and parking, everything would be more expensive," says McCormick.

But Heather Haas has a different opinion.

"For 12 hours it's about $2,000 just for classes alone. Not books," says Haas.

"The cost to run a football program would double their semester credit hours payments right now, or the fee. It's currently $12, it would jump to $24," says Dr. Howard Patterson, the Vice President of Administration and Government Relations with UT Tyler.

UT Tyler is already eyeing a piece of property they own next to Cambridge apartments. The cost of total build out: $6 to 7 million.

"Look at it from enrollment growth, big perspective, probably the best thing we could do to get such an impact on enrollment growth a football program would generate," says Dr. Patterson.

Dr. Patterson says it would bring more students to play and watch.

"Also brings along drill team, expanded pep squads and marching band," says Dr. Patterson.

But the decision would ultimately be up to students.

Dr. Patterson says there would have to be a lot of support from students, and the student government association would have to propose it to students as a vote.

If that referendum passes, UT Tyler would have football.

Dr. Patterson says the program was slated to have a 3 year ramp-up period if the program were to be voted into effect.



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