To understand the likelihood of a Division I school dropping its football program, all one would need to look at is UNC-Charlotte, which played its first year of football last season at the Division I-AA level as it goes through the required two-year transition period to Division I-A.
Like the rest of Conference USA, the 49ers athletic department will lose significant money in its official record keeping, but the school still decided to start a football program from scratch in 2008 – with the condition that the fans raise the first $5 million for the building of a stadium.
“In the case of Charlotte, having a football program [creates] the opportunity to bring alumni back to campus on a Saturday,” Banowsky said. “It’s a special, significant thing. Football has the potential to bring a university together.”