We've whispers by the academic community at EWU that are saying the school should move down to Division II or abolish the football program. The mouthpiece for that was a tenured professor who originally opposed the program's move up to Div. I in the mid 1980s.
I wish I could link the full story by the subscription system of the Spokesman's website is rather "restrictive" so I'll post the blog so hopefully you'll get the jist of what the guy was saying.
(1) Football costs a lot of money. (yet those big money games where the ewu football players gets wacked by the big boy schools brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars into the university fund... hmmmmm)
(2) If EWU was to move down to Div. they could offer more sports. (Good thing the university just turned the university baseball field into a ropes course.)
(3) Div. II offers more opportunities for student athletes. (Playing in a lower division with no hope of going pro. That's a great opportunity.)
No, no, no. I love when academic shut-in professors try to sound off about athletic programs and about how much money it costs when their own union sucks a lot of money from the university with complacent professors and ridiculous benefits.
I ran into more than a few complacent professors at EWU, can I ask for that program to be cut to? Athletic programs promote the schools so that the professors can get a classroom of kids to actually teach.
One thing that EWU Athletics has done that I commend them for is that they want to do better. They want to be on the top level of competition, they want to be that top rung. Which... considering the attitude of the teaching staff and administration at the university... is not exactly shared throughout the entire campus.
Some people are fine with EWU being a mediocre and would like to keep things with the "way it always been." Eastern Washington Athletics came along in the 1980s and dreamed big to move into Div. I. They did it, and they've had lots of success.
And if they dropped Div. I athletics, they'd lose their already scant alumni support and interest. And forget about any media coverage whatsoever.
So even in this economy, if this professor is worried about expenditures by the university, perhaps he should look at his own department's payroll as opposed to the 80 kids trying to live the dream of playing college football across the street.