WICHITA, Kansas (KSN) – The debate over bringing football back to Wichita State has come up once again.
It’s a conversation that’s been happening for decades, but is it any closer to reality?
“This completes the program for Wichita State. That’s what I think it does,” stated John Potts, a former WSU football player.
That’s the sentiment echoed by a lot of Wichitans, hoping football will one day return to Wichita state. As the university examines its athletics department, President Bardo says, it has to be on the table.
“It’s time for us to not just look at football, but to look at all of our athletics programs and say, ‘how do we take the institution and better position it to help Wichita take it’s next steps?”, President John Bardo of WSU explained.
WSU’s football program ended in 1986. Support and interest was low leading to lackluster attendance and a lack of funding to sustain the program.
John Potts played football for Wichita State from 1970-1973, a previous supporter of efforts to get football back, and he thinks now is the time.
“The time is right because we’re at a level where people are thinking about Shocker athletics. People across the country are aware of Shocker athletics now,” Potts said.
However, President Bardo says interest is a far cry from reality, saying there are a lot of obstacles, many of them financial. Bardo explains funding football facilities alone could be in the ballpark of $70 million.
“We’d have to look at a stadium. We’d have to look at an indoor practice facility. We’d have to look at coaching salaries. We’d have to look at women’s sports to be the counter balance to football. And we’re just at the beginning stages to look at all of that,” stated Bardo.
According to President Bardo, any consideration would have to include strong financial support from the community, saying that costs would not be placed on students. Some students KSN talked to, say it’s worth a discussion.
“If you don’t explore it, then what good is that? You can only benefit from exploring that option,” said WSU student Brett Lukert.
Another topic on the horizon is the possibility of changing out of the Missouri Valley Conferences.
All of this is in the discussion phase. Nothing is set in stone and there are a lot of hurdles before any changes happen to WSU athletics.