To hear Ken Zirkle, Post’s president, tell it, starting a sprint football team and affiliating it with those from a handful of highly selective institutions will help the university in ways more valuable than the initial start-up investment of around $400,000 and the eventual annual cost of around $150,000 to maintain the team. Like a number of presidents who consider adding a traditional football team to their institution, Zirkle hopes Post’s sprint football team will help bolster the enrollment of male students, which he believes is lacking. More than that, he hopes the addition of the team will foster a greater sense of community at a university that educates more than four times as many students from around the country online as it does local residents at its main campus in Westbury, Conn.Some would argue such a move by Post officials would be a superficial improvement, but they'd be missing critical aspects of the decicion. It not only tightens the community of students attending the school, but gives them common cause and mutual identity. It reduces the transient nature of non-traditional schools and most importantly, gives a for-profit institution some depth beyond their financial category. Good luck to Post University.
“A lot of online colleges don’t have a campus to call home,” said Zirkle, who presided over the addition of a traditional football team at Becker College, in Massachusetts, when he was president there in 2005.
“We have about 3,000 online students, and we even offer them a stipend if they want to come join us on campus here for graduation. A lot of them take us up on that offer. Online students want to take pride in their university. I expect that adding [a sprint football team] will do nothing but enhance that. We already have alumni clamoring for a homecoming event, and a football game is a natural venue for that. Football has a certain mystique, and I know the benefits of it, having experienced them firsthand at other institutions.”
Anthony Fallacaro, Post’s athletics director, said he believes the sprint football team will complement the existing sports offered, further contributing to a sense of community on campus. Those students who take classes at the main campus, both athletes and non-athletes alike, have expressed interest in the sport, he added.
“The excitement on campus is there,” Fallacaro said. “I’ve already talked to students who are checking their weight to see if they’ll be able to play. The existing teams and coaches of them are being supportive of it all. Also, I’ve had inquiries about tickets and home games, not just from students but from people in the Westbury community.”
Friday, December 11, 2009
David Moltz of Inside Higher Ed has explains why Post University, a for-profit college in Connecticut, would elect to join a football association that forbids scholarship or off-campus recruiting. The answer is that officials are trying to unite the campus while impacting the larger community:
Posted by APSCU User at 3:48 PM