Needing the University System of Georgia’s approval to institute the additional fee, and set into motion the introduction of new sports to campus — most notably, football — KSU administrators will meet with the board’s finance and business operations committee Wednesday at its headquarters in downtown Atlanta.
Wednesday’s meeting comes after the expected approval of the fee was postponed during the board’s last meeting on Jan. 8. At the time, Chancellor Hank Huckaby said he wanted to set up a task force to better consider fee proposals before offering his approval.
“The board feels very strongly about this, and we do as a staff, that we need to chart out how we are going to move forward in the future with the expansion and increase in athletics,” Huckaby said in January.
The postponement was a surprise even to KSU officials, with the athletic department even going as far as to plan a news conference inside the KSU Convocation Center to announce the introduction of football, and a potential donor to the program.
Now, the university will stand in front of the Board of Regents for its second attempt at having the $100-per-student fee increase — to $252 overall — approved, which would aid the start-up costs of introducing football and corresponding women’s programs — cheerleading, crew, sand volleyball and equestrian have been mentioned — to balance out Title IX requirements.
According to an agenda of Wednesday’s meeting printed on the Board of Regents’ website, the university “is seeking early approval of the fee request to enable the university to begin its national search for a head football coach and staff as soon as possible.”
Requests having to do with fees are typically heard during the Board of Regents’ April meetings.
“We are excited that the Board of Regents is allowing Kennesaw State University the opportunity to be on the agenda for a vote,” athletic director Vaughn Williams said Monday in a statement to the Journal.
KSU president Dan Papp submitted to the Board of Regents that a football team would “bring positive national recognition to the university, enhance student retention, progression and graduation and create a sense of pride and connection among students, alumni, and the community at large.”
Support for a football program at Kennesaw State reached its peak in the fall of 2010, when an exploratory committee — chaired by former Georgia coaching great Vince Dooley — issued a report that showed overwhelming support for the sport.
Barring further complications with the Board of Regents, officials are aiming for the KSU football team’s first kickoff in two years. Once a coach is hired, and a staff is built, the team would sign its first class of players next February and spend the fall of 2014 preparing for the first game in 2015.
The football team would play at the 8,300-seat KSU Stadium, which currently serves as the home field for the university’s women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse program.