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With 390 donors coming together to support the vision for a new football program, Stanton said it sends a message to students who are preparing for a referendum vote April 10th and 11th to decide whether a new athletic fee should be instituted to support such a program.
"Our alumni and community supporters have certainly sent a clear message by meeting our $300,000 goal with two weeks to spare," said Stanton, who had originally set a deadline of March 31 to meet this initial plateau. "As our students prepare to vote on a new athletic fee later this spring, it is obvious that many people who support ETSU are behind this effort and wish to see it succeed. As I said in December, we still have a long way to go before we reach the end zone, but we've certainly moved the ball with this announcement."
ETSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins said he is encouraged by the public's prompt response to
"Meeting this goal is a positive first step," Mullins said. "We should be encouraged by the number of individual donors who have responded so quickly. This allows us to move to the next step of the process and should encourage our students to realize that others are joining their efforts."
While this first step has been accomplished, a positive vote on the student referendum, approval of a new fee by the Tennessee Board of Regents, and the gathering of $15 million by summer of 2008 for funding a new outdoor stadium are the next challenges to be met over the coming 14 months. Stanton, who this past December announced the possible return of football, hopes to field a scholarship team at the NCAA Division I-AA level by the fall of 2010.
For more on ETSU football efforts, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the "ETSU Football: A New Era" logo located on the right.