Our football team is undefeated. Not even Tom Brady could defeat our team because it’s impossible to beat a team that doesn’t exist. However, on the third floor of the library, there’s a helmet for the football program that never was. Instead of a testament to athletic prowess, it represents FGCU’s vibrant history and culture.
In 2011, FGCU hired an analytics firm to estimate if it could support an NCAA football team. The firm reported that FGCU would need to expand its athletics facilities and relationships with other regional colleges to be inducted into a division conference. A football program would also skew the gender ratio in favor of males, so female athletes needed a program for an equal opportunity to participate, following Title IX regulations. Nevertheless, the firm offered a 6-year plan to launch the football program. The first three years focused on scholarships and recruitment, while the next three saw the team competing in small matches. Ultimately, President Bradshaw determined it wasn’t feasible at that time.
11 years later, FGCU has no official football program, and President Martin reports a team is unlikely. Only the helmet exists. Students may joke about not having a team, but these jokes form a distinct, dynamic part of FGCU culture. Students appreciate the smaller things in life, and this love of all things results in boundless creativity redefining what it means to be an FGCU student. Perhaps in the future, students will band together a football team and continue to defend our undefeated record.
If you’re interested in learning more about this and other tales from FGCU history, visit our exhibition Wings Up: 25 Years of Student Life at FGCU on the third floor of the library. The exhibit runs until December 2!
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