UNO students to vote on fee increase in November that could lead to establishing football program

The goal is to boost a depleted student population by enhancing the college experience
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2022 at 6:25 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In one month, University of New Orleans students are going to be asked to vote on a fee increase package that could lead to a football team and a new stadium on campus. The goal is to boost a depleted student population by enhancing the college experience, but it comes with what many say is a big price tag.

This site near Lakefront Arena once hosted Pope John Paul II and now UNO wants to see other major events brought here on a regular basis.

“We’re trying to ‘Wake the Lake’ out there and this is a way to do that.

UNO commissioned a feasibility study of what it would cost to bring in an FCS football program, Along with a new stadium, a marching band, and women’s soccer and golf programs, in an effort to enhance the college experience and fill classrooms depleted since Katrina.

“This is something to increase enrollment,” Duncan said. “It’s been dramatic to go from 17,000 (students) to around 8,000.”

There have been a number of town hall meetings, with several more scheduled between now and Nov. 7, when students will be able to cast ballots for or against the “Wake the Lake” program.

“I am a big fan of football. But looking at some of the numbers, you have few programs that actually turn a profit,” said student Louis Hebert.

Though the athletic improvements would cost students up to $400 per semester, proponents say much of the cost would be covered by grant programs. The university would seek private financing to cover the cost of the proposed new stadium.

“Eighty percent of our students get grants,” Duncan said. “Most of them would not even feel the increase.”

Many UNO alums like the idea.

“When alumni come back, they don’t go to the math classroom, they go see the football stadium,” said alum and sports booster Dave Sherman.

But the proposal will come down to a student vote next month.

“As long as my Pell grant covers it, I don’t wanna have to pay for it. I don’t want it to come out of my pocket,” said student Nyanza Dilbert.

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