Richardson to head football advisory group

  • Thursday, September 20, 2012

    UMES club football 2012 by Valentine AnamelechiPRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Sept. 20, 2012) - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore announced today the formation of a task force to help the institution assess a study that outlines what fielding an NCAA Division I football team would take.

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    Earlier this year, the UMES administration hired a consulting firm to help it identify factors that should be considered in weighing such a decision.

    President Juliette B. Bell said the Alden & Associates report provides a roadmap to follow in addressing the feasibility of offering football as part of UMES' sports line-up.

    "We still have a long way to go before a decision can be made," Bell said. "But it is important to have this independent perspective of what our institution should consider when assessing whether adding a football program makes sense."

    The consultant's report provides a snapshot of the current state of athletics at UMES and projects what would be needed to restart a football program. It also assesses the potential impact the addition of an NCAA-eligible football team would have on the university.

    "Ultimately, our decision will be one that puts the best interest of our students and our university's mission at the forefront," Bell said.

    Bell noted that the consultants put together a scenario using a three-year phase-in as a model for starting a football program. It estimates the first year would cost just under $1 million; the second year $3.6 million; and year 3, the first year for competitive play, is projected at nearly $3.9 million.

    Embedded in those numbers is the suggestion UMES add intercollegiate sports opportunities for female athletes to remain in compliance with federal gender-equity laws as well as the assumption the university would also develop a full-fledged marching band.

    "That is a sizeable investment," Bell said, "And it does not include the estimated $21 million in capital funds needed for improving existing facilities and building new ones, including a football stadium."

    Bell met with the 17-member task force this morning to provide the panel copies of the Alden study along with a charge to evaluate the consultant's findings.

    "I'm looking for these volunteers to draw on expertise from their respective fields to provide their assessment of what is contained in the report and what is best for UMES," Bell said.

    Bell asked the task force, chaired by Dr. Earl S. Richardson, to complete its work by December. Dr. Richardson is a UMES alumnus and president emeritus of Morgan State University, which fields a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football team.

    Once the task force completes its work, the university will then focus on making a decision on whether to add intercollegiate football at UMES.

    The Alden study focuses on the projected investments UMES would need to make for a team to compete in the Football