First, we, like 30 to 40 other Division I-A schools across the country, have attendance challenges in football. You've probably read one of the many articles written about the NCAA's new rule requiring that an average of 15,000 people attend our five home football games beginning in 2004.
While some have painted a picture spelling the demise of Spartan football because of this new rule, we actually consider this another opportunity to advance the program with a deadline imposed upon all of us.
I have news for those naysayers: Division I-A football at San Jose State University is here to stay…and thrive.
We are going to be even more aggressive and more creative in our marketing, promotions, and fundraising efforts, just as we've been in our overall management of the department.
Football at San Jose State University does well financially. Not only does the football bring in over a $1-million annually in game guarantees, the football program accounts for approximately 85 percent of all our raised outside income. With President Caret's support and Coach Fitz Hill's vision, SJSU football will flourish.
When I took this position four years ago, I was given a challenge: balance the budget. People said we could not get this done, and we have with the revenue the football program generates.
People said that we could not build a top-notch training center for our student-athletes. With the help of donors who support San Jose State football, the new $4-million Koret Center stands as one of the finest in the nation.
People have said that we couldn't make it in the Western Athletic Conference – one of the nation's top conferences sponsoring Division I-A football. Well, we have performed very well in baseball, volleyball, golf, women's basketball, swimming and soccer over the past three years. Non-WAC sports water polo, men's soccer and gymnastics have also performed well.
People said we could not get a new major college football bowl game started in Spartan Stadium. The Silicon Valley's bowl game has been a huge success. Michigan State, which played in the 2001 game, said it was one of the best they had ever attended!
I invite you to spend a Saturday in the fall with us at Spartan Stadium. San Jose State football is a great bargain and terrific family entertainment. This is your team! Come and be a part of it.