Kennesaw State will present its financial plan for football to the State Board of Regents on Tuesday in the last step needed before the Owls can start the program.
If the Regents approve a $100 per-semester increase in student fees, Kennesaw State will make official at a pep rally on campus Wednesday what was first discussed in 2010 when the students approved the fee increase: a football team.
That rally, which will be held at the Convocation Center, may include the unveiling of a major donation, according to a person familiar with the Owls’ plan, but who wished to remain anonymous because the Regents haven’t given the green light.
The Owls hope to begin play as early as 2015. The person with knowledge of the plan said that if the Regents approve, athletic director Vaughn Williams will begin the search for a coach, whom he hopes to have hired by Signing Day in February. He also must begin the search for a conference on the FCS level, previously known as Division I-AA. The Atlantic Sun, the Owls’ home in all sports, doesn’t have football.
The team will play at the KSU Stadium, which seats slightly more than 8,000. The soccer stadium likely won’t be expanded, but there will be a renovation to the suites on the West side of the stadium. The stadium was constructed with the addition of football as a possibility, so there’s not a lot of work that needs to be done to make the stadium football-ready.
The team will likely practice in a field adjacent to the stadium, which is on the east side of I-75. Most of the campus is on the west side.
The increase in student fees will bring the total earmarked to athletics to $251 per semester. Multiplied by the university enrollment of more than 24,000, the increase is expected to cover the projected $3.5 million in annual operating costs for the football team. The fee will go into effect for the Fall semester later this year.
The university announced in Sept. 2010 that, after a committee chaired by former Georgia coach Vince Dooley spent 10 months examining the possibility, it was going to move ahead with adding football and hoped to field the first team by 2014. However, they weren’t able to get on the Nov. 2012 agenda, which has likely pushed back the program’s first season to 2015, at the earliest.
Doug Roberson, AJC staff