Could a football team increase enrollment at GC?

Abigayle Allen, Opinion Editor

With college football season right around the corner, students around the country are planning their tailgates and game-day activities. But at GC, students twiddle their thumbs and hope for good TV service to watch a game.

It is no secret that college football brings groups of people together, not just to enjoy an enticing game, but to come together with the shared love for their home team. As a fellow bulldog fan, I would not be caught dead cheering on any other team, unless it were my homeschool team. So why does GC refuse to add football to our list of athletics? 

The Washington Post found that with each win at top SEC schools, the number of applicants rose sixteen percent. In 2011, an Auburn University dean of enrollment contacted LSU and Florida, SEC schools that had also won national titles.  They stated that they received a rise in applicants as well. Even Oregon, who lost to Auburn in 2011, stated that they had a ten percent rise in applicants for the mere reason of competing in a game against Auburn. 

This rise in enrollment is called the “Flutie Effect.” It is named after Boston College’s star quarterback, Dean Flutie. In 1984, he led his team to win the National Championship against Miami. is After this win, applicants to Boston surged. 

Now, this is not foolproof, and some schools receive no increase in applicants due to football success, but colleges ranging from major state universities to lesser-known institutions  have spikes in interest following  athletic success.

Dr. Randall Smith, sociology professor at Rutgers University, ran a study measuring the academic quality of students in two hundred and thirty-three different universities over a twelve-year span based on the school’s football teams. His findings showed clear positive effects attributable to the football program. 

Smith found that these effects are not related to the on-field performance of said teams but are the direct result of football culture and tradition at the schools.

 It is no secret that GC is a smaller university and would struggle to pull in the same stature of athletes that top SEC schools would. But the camaraderie effect associated with football could help to bring school culture to new levels.

“Georgia Southern football games will never compare to UGA football games, but you will find me in my blue and gold every weekend supporting my home team,”said Georgia Southern senior Aidan Moon. 

GC has been labeled as a transfer school for far too long. I believe adding football could raise school pride and bring students together for a common goal. I know that many institutions pride themselves on the tradition surrounding their home teams. Tradition takes time to form, but it will never be made if we never start.