By: Mollee Ryan
First Year Music Therapy Major
I never wanted to go to Cleveland State. Actually, Cleveland State was the last on my list of colleges of interest.
I remember that wayward time in my life — my search for college. I was looking for big schools, schools that would be fun, social and give me an education where when I graduated from college, people were gawking at my accomplishment.
It was in the middle of my college search that I stumbled across an email from Cleveland State University, inviting me to apply to their school. Although they knew I had absolutely no interest in the school, my parents urged me to at least apply, as my father is an alumni and thoroughly enjoyed it, even before all the new renovations.
Reluctantly, I listened to them and submitted my application. I had no intention at all of attending Cleveland State.
As an aspiring sports journalist, I found it absolutely absurd to attend a relatively small, city school with no football team and a basketball team that was seemingly off-the-grid. But nevertheless, I applied, because of the considerably lower tuition than all of the other schools I was looking into.
However, when I got accepted into Cleveland State, everything changed for me. I opened my mind a little bit and took a deeper look into Cleveland State’s quaint, yet modern campus, and immediately, I fell in love with it. It was incredible how fast my views changed on the school that, no more than a couple months ago, I gritted my teeth as I sent my application in. I realized how illiberal I had been with my college search, and I grew increasingly more excited to start college as time went on.
Obviously, I bragged about my new accomplishment and the next chapter of my life to my friends, teachers and even acquaintances at school and my workplace. I couldn’t wait when I saw that neat, big, green package nestled tightly in my cold mailbox on that December afternoon. All I wanted to do was post that “Class of 2022” patch on my Snapchat story with the caption, “Mama, I made it!”.
Yet, with all of my excitement and anticipation, everyone around me didn’t seem to be sharing the same feelings.“Why Cleveland State? Can’t you do better than that?”
The questions and phrases rang in my ears everyday walking into my judgemental high school. Every single day, a new person approached me with it, and honestly, I couldn’t understand what the gigantic problem was with Cleveland State.
I was going to college, pursuing a higher education. Why did it seem like my parents were the only ones happy for me? One day, I remember being so angry with the negative comments, I asked, “What do you have against Cleveland State? What could possibly be so bad?”
“They don’t even have a football team.”
Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, people were actually disappointed in my choice of college because they didn’t have a football team.
I was appalled, almost disgusted, at how ludicrous their thought process was. Yet, I understood them in a very particular way.
I knew how I felt before I even applied to the school, and I knew that my own aversion to the school was because they didn’t have activities like football and marching band.
So, I shared my own experience, then I tried to back up my decision with the nationally ranked schools included in the university, like the law school and the arts programs. After my explanation, many of the perpetrators did seem more regretful of their statements about Cleveland State. It got me thinking: what if Cleveland State did have a football team?
In 2008, former president Michael Schwartz proposed the idea to students about bringing a football team to campus, but it wasn’t until 2010 that the student government decided to take action and run a poll on it.
The results showed that 68.7 percent (1,214) of students voted yes on adding a “Division I non-scholarship football team” to the school and 31.3 percent (553) of students said no. Yet, when the next question asked if students would be willing to pay a fee for the Division I football team, to cover any coaching salaries and equipment, 44.4 percent (780) of students said yes, and 55.6 percent (977) of students said they would not be willing.
Of course, with the addition of a football team to any university, additional costs and charges may apply, but judging by the results of the poll conducted by student government, tuition would only be raised anywhere between $6 to $8 per credit hour. If you do the math, an average student takes 17 credit hours per semester, multiply that by $7 and it adds an extra $119 per semester.
Now the question stands: would it be worth the extra money?
I think it would be worth it to pay an extra $100 or more in fees for the presence of a football team here at Cleveland State.
First, it would put Cleveland State on the map. As stated above, many of the students I came in contact with had no idea what amazing programs and studies Cleveland State has to offer simply because of the lack of a football team. The school would gain more attention and turn heads.
Second, the addition of a football team could increase enrollment rates. If a football team arises and promotes what Cleveland State actually has to offer, I definitely think more students would want to study here and maybe even pay the extra amount to live on campus. With the increase in enrollment, there could be an increase in students who want to live on campus; therefore, expanding the campus.
Third, building off the idea of increased enrollment rates, even if a football team could cost individuals an extra substantial amount of money, with more people attending the university, the extra cost could be divided among more people, meaning everyone pays less.
Fourth and finally, the city of Cleveland is already well-known for its sports. Whether it be the Browns who are known for heartbreak or the Indians and Cavaliers who constantly shock the world with their playoff appearances, Cleveland is a sports town. I don’t think the university would have any issues with getting people to attend sporting events or fundraisers.
I think Cleveland natives would be elated about the new inclusion.
Even if the whole idea fell apart, I still think it is definitely worth a try to add a Division I non-scholarship football team to the university. It could be fun and make university life a more pleasurable experience, especially students living on campus at Cleveland State.