Not so fast: Football’s return to campus no done deal

For the past couple of weeks there have been rumors that Wichita State football was back, including a report from a local news station that football had officially returned to campus.

Contrary to the rumors, football is not back at WSU.

“We don’t have a football team,” Vice President for Campus Life and University Relations Wade Robinson said when asked if football was back at WSU.

Sophomore Josh Wills, a computer engineering and entrepreneurship major, is looking to get a club football team started at WSU, one that will likely join the Intercollegiate Club Football Federation. Other teams in the league include Ohio State, Xavier, Marquette, and Miami of Ohio.

WSU has been without a football program since 1986. The lack of a football team was a problem for Wills. The sophomore saw a lack of college life among his fellow students.

“I was looking at ways of solving that,” Wills said. “One is campus housing and the other is creating a football team.”

In Wills’ eyes, the creation of a football team would help to create unity among students. Football games would bring students together from all across Wichita to create a feeling of college life for a university that Wills sees as mainly a commuter school.

Robinson and the university are not supportive of a football team at WSU for a variety of reasons — one of them being consistency.

“For me consistency is really important,” Robinson said. “President Beggs has been very clear about his position on football at the NCAA level. President Bardo has been on campus a couple of weeks and his view is the same of President Beggs.”

Another reason for Robinson and the university being against a football program is due to the amount of resources that a football program would require.

“Even at the club level there are a lot of issues that center around resources. Operating budget, equipment, risk management and liability are the biggest issues against a football program,” Robinson said.

The plan that Wills has is to build the team on his own and then for the athletic program to take the team over. Once the athletic program took over the program it would become an NCAA football team.

“My idea was that I would pretty much build the team on my own and then give it to the university,” Wills said. “Like in other entertainment mediums, you’ll have a musician make music for a record label. So I would make a football team for the athletic department.”

According to both Wills and Robinson, current and prospective students still have an opportunity to play football while enrolled at WSU even without a club football team.

The city of Wichita currently has two different football teams that students can join. One is the Wichita Wild, who participates in the Indoor Football League. The other is the Kansas Cougars. The Cougars are a club team that competes against other club teams in the mid-plains area.

“My suggestion is that everyone who is interested in playing football while enrolled at Wichita State should contact the Kansas Cougars or Wichita Wild to still continue their education and pursue playing football,” Robinson said.

A club football team seems very unlikely at this time, according to Robinson and both President Beggs and President Bardo, but the efforts of Wills didn’t go unnoticed.

“I appreciate everything that Josh has the energy, passion and interest to do,” Robinson said. “I understand why he’s interested. This has always been a topic at WSU, but as a University we need to stay consistent.”