Wichita State has commissioned nine football feasibility studies since 1987 — the year after they disbanded the program due to financial issues. The most recent study was conducted last year, and it said, among other things, that start-up facility costs would be around $40 million and they would need an annual budget of roughly $6 million.
It also said Wichita State must join a conference. Now that the Shockers have made the sudden leap from the Missouri Valley to the American, it's fair to wonder if they'll bring back the football team.
Though the study and the administration's optimistic rhetoric were encouraging for fans who want to see Shocker football, there are still no guarantees Wichita State would add the program in the near future, if ever.
In addition to Wichita State, here are four other schools we'd love to see add football.
George Mason is one of the largest non-football-playing D1 schools in the country.
Though both endowment ($73 million in 2016) and athletic department revenue ($26.2 million in 2015-16) are modest, they do sit in one of the wealthiest areas in America, have a strong fan base, and have explored adding football many times in the past.
In 2010, they estimated annual costs for a program to be $12.4 million in the FCS and $30 million in the FBS. And because George Mason, who has never had football, said didn't wish to cut men's sports to comply with Title IX regulations, they would add at least one women's sport, thus increasing the cost.
The last decade of football discussions at the university have floated from optimism — former athletics director Tom O'Connor said in 2010 he'd love to add football for media attention, enrollment and raising the profile of the school — to skepticism — president Angel Cabrera said in 2014 that the "financial numbers of football are very tough."
If the price is right, football in Fairfax could be a blast.
One of the five largest American universities without football, UT Arlington has also discussed adding football many times since eliminating the program in 1985.
Sitting in the gigantic Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, the school has an enrollment of nearly 40,000, endowment of $134 million (with aggressive plans to increase to $400 million) and potentially room for athletics' expense growth (expenses of $11.8 million in 2015-16).
In 2004, as part of a feasibility study, students voted to increase student fees to add three sports: football and women's golf and soccer. Those fees would've covered $1.25 million annually in athletics' fes, or more than 60 percent of the estimated increase of $2 million. They joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2013 and are the only one of 12 members who do not play football.
Another large non-football-playing D1 member (enrollment of 31,252 in 2016), VCU has never sponsored a football team since being founded in 1838.
Though they have the highest revenue of any non-football D1 member ($31.4 million in 2015-16) and an endowment approaching $1.7 billion, there are issues. When hired in 2013, athletics director Ed McLaughlin said people "talk [about football] every day" but exploring the addition of football is "far, far away." They'd also have join the Pioneer Football League like many football-playing Atlantic 10 members or find another conference for just football or all sports.
Still, we can't help but drool over the possibility of football at the financially stable school in a large metro area with a strong fan base.
Once upon a time Gonzaga football was a decent, stable program who produced Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Canadeo and Ray Flaherty. They haven't fielded a team since 1941, and they haven't come close to bringing football back to Spokane recently.
With an enrollment just under 8,000, Gonzaga is one of smallest non-football-playing schools in D1, and they are one of seven West Coast Conference members without football program. Their expenses and revenue for 2015-16 were both $22.8 million and judging by their financial report, it's unlikely there's room for an investment in either FCS or FBS football.
However, despite shortcomings like VCU, giving the Gonzaga faithful a football program would be a heck of a lot of fun. Additionally, calls for the Zags to join a premier conference would get much louder. The biggest thing that precludes them from consideration to join the Pac 12 (other than size) is the lack of a football team. This would solve that issue.