Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Case Against Football at College of DuPage

In the mid-1990s, then-COD President Michael Murphy eliminated the college's football program. He cited the college's mission, "serving the needs of the community."

In 1992, 71% of football players were from out-of-district. By 1996, that had grown to 85%.

Murphy cited "inadequate support for students living away from home," including both housing and transportation. He cited the expenditures on football, including:

Compensation - $99,858
Contractual Services - 15,658
Materials/Supplies - 35,751
Travel - 21,292
Insurance - 10,666
Indirect Cost - 22,640 ($12,000 on Grounds alone)

For a total expenditure of $205,865. According to Murphy, "declines in locally available competition would raise cost."

The poor academic performance of football players was also cited by Murphy. According to statistics he presented to the board:

  • 48% of players had a quarterly GPA below 2.0
  • 20% of players had a quarterly GPA below 1.0
  • 33% of players had a cumulative GPA below 2.0
  • Football players dropped more than 1 of every 3 classes taken (37%), whereas the college-wide drop rate was 13%.
  • 45% of football players at this time were on financial aid (the college's tuition wasn't even $30 per hour - it stands at more than $100 per hour in 2008)

Current Board of Trustees Chairman Micheal McKinnon wrote in rebuttal, "As a college, we should feel good about the fact that 45% of student athletes in football are on financial aid." [For the record, several years later McKinnon started a company named College Financial Planners of America.]

The football team was reinstated, over Murphy's objections. In recent years, the football coach's position went from being part-time [a full-time PE faculty member with added responsibility] to being a full-time position. Yes, College of DuPage has a full-time football coach. For the 2006-2007 academic year, Coach Fred Fimbres was paid a base salary of $71,000. That's a far cry from the $8,000 the football assignment paid during Murphy's time. Why does a community college need a full-time football coach?

The out-of-district players are back in force. The football roster numbered 85 total players in 2005, of which 22 were from in-district [see the Courier, May 9, 2008, page 29]. In 2007, out of 104 total players, only 33 were from in-district. Rumor has it more than 80% of the students on the current roster are from out-of-district.


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Omar said...

I happend to be on that 1996-1997 football team that was canceled. That was my first year and last year of college. When they took the football team away that was the worst thing they ever could have did for a young man like myself. I happend to be one of those out of state guys who had everything to lose by not play football. Worst thing that even happend to me as a young man growing into his own.