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EKU making the right moves
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ARSTATEFAN1986 Offline
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EKU making the right moves
By WESLEY ROBINSON
wesley_robinson28@mymail.eku.edu

Eastern’s Board of Regents didn’t make any decisions, but it laid the foundation for the university’s future Tuesday, including the possibility of jumping into big time football.

The Board met with Eastern’s administration to discuss university business but did not make any decisions during its retreat in Frankfort. One of major points of discussion the benefits of moving from Football Championship Subdivision Football to Football Bowl Subdivision.

Making the move to FBS football is the best and fastest chance to take the university to the next level in 10 years, said Mark Sandy, athletic director and interim vice president for marketing and university relations.

“It defines in many ways how you are and where you’re going,” Sandy said of football and university athletics.

Sandy compared Eastern to Western Kentucky University before it moved to FBS Football. Sandy said Eastern had about the same enrollment as WKU prior to it making the jump from FCS to FBS football, but Western’s numbers took off afterward adding more than 3,000 students over the nine years while Eastern’s enrollment has hardly grown.

President Michael Benson said he recently met with the presidents of schools in the OVC, who insisted the conference was a basketball conference. Benson cited the overall popularity of college football as a reason for the move.

“The most popular spectator sport in America is football,” Benson said. “They stated unequivocally that they are a basketball conference.”

He also said the OVC is considering bringing in a Division II school, North Alabama, into the conference, which also has less stringent academic requirements and possibly does little to enhance the conference’s profile.

Benson said the Sun Belt Conference may potentially be one of the conferences considering taking on Eastern, specifically so that it can have a football playoff by 2015. He said if a move were to occur, it would provide much greater exposure than Eastern would get as a part of the OVC.

Ernie House, vice chair of the Board, said it wasn’t clear when WKU made the jump whether it would increase its profile, but ultimately has proved its worth.

“Has it been successful for their program athletically?” House asked. “But it has been for their success as a whole.”

The Board also discussed the need for non-mandatory student fees to move to FBS football and improve athletics. WKU imposes a student fee of $250 for athletics. The board also pointed to Radford University in Virginia, which imposes an $1,100 student fee for athletics.

Craig Turner, chair of the board, said the university must have an answer ready should a conference invite Eastern. He said the move is an opportunity for the university to raise its profile.

“It’s like our Good Morning America piece—we can’t pay for that kind of advertising,” Turner said.

Turner said no decisions have been made on the matter adding that the board wanted to find out more information about the potential move and other major decisions at the retreat.

In other business at the retreat, the board also reviewed plans for capital projects and Master Plan improvements including a new Student Center, Model Lab and changes where the Combs residence hall is currently.

Sarah Carpenter, Student Government Association President and student regent, said SGA is working on plans to revamp the current student center exploring a non-mandatory student fee for Richmond campus students only.

The project would cost $25 million and would take the student center completely out of service during renovations. If students go for a fee, the building would be finished by 2018. Carpenter said a student fee isn’t popular, but the new student center would incorporate more of what students want and leave a lasting impact on campus.

Benson also said the university is looking at completing the Model Lab and College of Education project in two phases to help alleviate initial cost burdens. Plans are also in place to revamp the university entrance at Barnes Mill Road. The plans take about 50 parking spots from the Martin Lot, but provides new dorms and green space and makes campus more welcoming, Benson said.

The Board also visited the state’s General Assembly and spoke with Rep. Arnold Simpson, vice chair of the appropriations and revenue committee and Rep. Rita Smart of Madison County.

Simpson said he was pleased to see the Board at the capitol and encouraged them and the university to continue to lobby on Eastern’s behalf.

“My goal is to attempt to create mechanism where we can restore the 2.5 percent cut the governor recommended,” Simpson said. “We can’t lose track of affordability. That will be a deterrent to students. Restoration of the cuts is probably the most important thing that we’re looking at.”
04-22-2014 11:30 AM
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Yosef Himself Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
I do like to see a President excited about being in the Belt.
04-22-2014 11:34 AM
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Saint3333 Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
So would teams fly into Louisville to get to EKU?
04-22-2014 11:43 AM
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boroeagle2 Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
Sounds intriguing.

"Craig Turner, chair of the board, said the university must have an answer ready should a conference invite Eastern. He said the move is an opportunity for the university to raise its profile."

The plot thickens.
04-22-2014 11:45 AM
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EKUSteve Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
(04-22-2014 11:43 AM)Saint3333 Wrote:  So would teams fly into Louisville to get to EKU?

Lexington Blue Grass Field.
04-22-2014 11:46 AM
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EKUSteve Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
Also, the Eastern Progress article above is from February.
04-22-2014 11:48 AM
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GoApps70 Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
Teams wanting the Sun Belt is always good.
04-22-2014 11:56 AM
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ASUMountaineer Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
(04-22-2014 11:45 AM)boroeagle2 Wrote:  Sounds intriguing.

"Craig Turner, chair of the board, said the university must have an answer ready should a conference invite Eastern. He said the move is an opportunity for the university to raise its profile."

The plot thickens.

It seems as if EKU would forego a "study" to determine if a move to FBS is in its best interest. In fact, it seems EKU's leadership has made that determination. Perhaps EKU has a better chance than I originally thought...
04-22-2014 12:28 PM
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CajunExpress Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
You guys amaze me daily. Especially App State, Troy, and Georgia Southern. You fought like hell to get out of FCS, only to want all your FCS brethren to join you. Just a wonderful Kum Ba Yeah moment.

http://www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/kumbayah.html.

Reminds me of some old UL fans who long for the days playing McNeese, Lamar. Oh, man this is so sad.
(This post was last modified: 04-22-2014 12:34 PM by CajunExpress.)
04-22-2014 12:34 PM
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NCeagle Offline
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RE: EKU making the right moves
(04-22-2014 12:34 PM)CajunExpress Wrote:  You guys amaze me daily. Especially App State, Troy, and Georgia Southern. You fought like hell to get out of FCS, only to want all your FCS brethren to join you. Just a wonderful Kum Ba Yeah moment.

http://www.scoutsongs.com/lyrics/kumbayah.html.

Reminds me of some old UL fans who long for the days playing McNeese, Lamar. Oh, man this is so sad.

well compared to Liberty, yes, we would welcome EKU. Now would we prefer an already FBS team? Yeah, of course, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen.
04-22-2014 12:42 PM
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