University of Texas of the Permian Basin Football? 7/29/13
CBS 7 News
July 29, 2013
Odessa, TX – the University of Texas of the Permian Basin is recognized for many things: They've grown into an acclaimed, comprehensive university offering 32 undergraduate and 19 graduate degrees in the heart of the Permian Basin; and is recognized in the Top Tier of western Masters universities by national publications such as US News and World Report…but all this said, football is not one of them.
“One of the students' first questions would be do we have football team,” said Doctor David Watts, but he stood tall when he said Falcon football is very close to reality.
He says after a feasibility study he'll be able to disclose how much the program will cost and if it will be approved. This can happen as soon as next month.
This is news that put the school spirit back in students like Felix Castellanies.
“We’ll get to add a football team here because then it adds the drill team, cheer leading, marching band and color guard,” he said.
Dr. Watts says they'll have at least 26-full football scholarships. Local high school students would not have to travel far to show off their talent.
The University is asking for the Ector County Independent School District's support in hopes to use the Ratliff stadium for home games.
Students say they're on board, but some have concerns about tuition costs increasing, which Dr. Watts stresses that will not happen.
How would this program be funded?
”It would be funded through a combination of things, we’re looking at gifts to help support the program and either re-purpose some student fees or some other income that we have used to underwrite the cost of the football program.”
But why now? Kirk Edwards has been appointed to seek private funding. He says the booming economy is allowing the community to give back.
“We don't want to take their money in case the program doesn't happen so it's kind of the chicken and egg,” Edwards said, “But we've had some substantial supporters.”
The UTPB football team would be considered a NCAA Division II program. Universities like Angelo State, West Texas A&M, Texas A&M Commerce or Midwestern State are Division II programs closest to the Permian Basin area.
“We look forward to the day coming where we get television contracts for UTPB football,” Dr. Watts said.
ECISD will vote on a resolution to support the potential program in Tuesday’s meeting.
The Odessa Chamber of Commerce gave their support a couple of months ago according to UTPB.