Commentary: Owls hope for 2014 kickoff? Now that’s a hoot
by John Bednarowski
November 11, 2012 01:08 AM | 3262 views | 2 2 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MDJ sports editor John Bednarowski
MDJ sports editor John Bednarowski
With Saturday’s sunny skies and mild temperatures, it was a perfect day for college football — the kind of day potential Kennesaw State fans would hope for when they go to see the Owls play at KSU Stadium.

However, if fans are expecting to see Kennesaw State football in 2014, you may be disappointed.

And 2015 isn’t looking so good right now either.

Tuesday is the final scheduled meeting of 2012 for the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents. Currently, Kennesaw State isn’t on the agenda to get the board’s final approval to go ahead with the university’s football program.

For awhile this week, it looked as if KSU would go in front of the board Tuesday. A source close to the situation said it looked like it would be on the board’s agenda, but within a few hours, that same source said KSU had hit red tape.

Then, a few days later, a KSU spokesman told the MDJ that it may be three or four months before anything happens.

Calls, emails and text messages to university president Dan Papp and athletic director Vaughn Williams seeking clarification were not answered or returned.

This should be a wake-up call to all those fans and alumni that want to see football on KSU’s campus.

By not meeting this final deadline for 2012, the timetable is nearly impossible for KSU to field a team in 2014.

To field a program 20 months from now, the Owls would need to have their first signed recruiting class in February.

Georgia State hired Bill Curry 2½ years before it took the field. He was on the job nine months before they signed their first recruiting class, and a GSU representative said this week that the Panthers were still behind where they wanted to be when the team played its first game.

KSU hasn’t hired a coach yet — let alone a staff — to go out and recruit players.

For that reason, other coaches I’ve talked to said that, if KSU does not have a coach in place before colleges begin practicing next spring, being able to kick off in 2015 becomes an issue.

The coaches’ consensus is that people will know exactly how committed KSU is to football by who it hires as the first coach. It will make the answer obvious as to whether the football program is just for show, or if the university actually plans to build a competitive program. That first choice of coach will set the program’s tone for years to come.

Unfortunately, right now, there isn’t a tone to be heard, let alone for anyone to find out if it is in-tune or off-key.

It’s obvious that KSU has had issues in a down economy raising the $7-$10 million it needs to start the program, or otherwise it would have already been in front of the Board of Regents

The bigger problem is that, more than two years after former Georgia coach and KSU football exploratory committee chairman Vince Dooley presented the report to Papp with the recommendation to go ahead with football, there has been little to no buzz about it in the community.

Who is the front person singing the praises of KSU football and getting people excited?

It hasn’t been Dooley, who could generate the necessary attention, but he told me this week he hasn’t heard anything about KSU’s plan to go in front of the board either.

In two years, maybe two people have asked me about the status of KSU football. And I can’t remember a time when I’ve even gotten a press release pumping up a football function or rally anywhere in Cobb County.

After surveying many of the local high school coaches — the ones that should be the backbone for providing players to KSU football — not one said he has heard so much as a murmur about the program, a potential coach or whether the Owls still intend to field a team.

One high-profile college coach, who said he was good friends with Papp, said that, over the last two years, he hasn’t gotten an e-mail or a call asking for an opinion or to give him an update about KSU’s football status.

And it’s not just the coaches that haven’t heard anything.

How about the students through social media? There is a KSU football Facebook page that, as far back as you can go, there’s barely a post about the Owls’ football program. With 25,000 students attending the school, and the thousands of alumni all over the area, there are only 191 likes on the page.

The KSU football Twitter account — @KSUOwlsFootball — it has just over 1,000 followers.

What is KSU’s plan going forward? When will the Owls take the field?

No one seems to know, and the silence is deafening.

John Bednarowski is sports editor of the Marietta Daily Journal. He can be reached at or via Twitter at
Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 06, 2012
As a current student at KSU, we all know that Kennesaw is very far behind in the process of starting the football program. We as students want football, but the faculty is more concerned with building more and more classrooms. KSU is also very short on teachers. Many students can't get into a class because it fills up so quickly. That is to be expected when you only offer one section of a class. I feel that KSU will never have a football program until Dr. Papp, and the rest of the higher up faculty are replaced.
November 13, 2012
As a KSU Alum, we have not received any communication regarding fund raising for football. We, the Alums completed a survey approximately a year ago and showed we are in favor of football. I watched how Georgia State progressed through the two years after they made the announcement. It was a clock on their website with a timetable before kickoff. Everyone is saying football will start at KSU in 2014, but no one knows what is going on behind the scenes. Just not sure if football will every happen at KSU. They would have to align with another Conference, which has football.
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