FGCU to start first football club

Marching bands. Pregame tailgating. Post-game parties. The smell of burned hamburgers. A football team.

If you looked at FGCU athletics in 2012, you would think of football as a far-fetched idea.

This past August, two FGCU students pushed to establish the university’s first football club in hopes of joining the National Collegiate Athletic Association, a non-profit organization which regulates athletes and sports teams all over the nation, in the future.

Four months have passed since the initial idea, and a bill passed by Student Government is pushing the club forward.

Matthew Landers, head coach and founder of the club, said he saw club football as an opportunity for the sport to get its roots into FGCU.

“I was sitting in the Cohen Center one day and had hear some people talking about how they wished FGCU had a football team,” Landers said.

“After hearing that same phrase for five years and wishing the same thing I decided to see what it would take to have one.” FGCU commissioned a study in 2011 and decided against starting an NCAA football team  would need to spend about $90 million on a stadium – among other things – the News-Press said.

The idea of bringing anything football to campus was largely left alone until recently, when Student Government passed a $30,000 bill on Jan. 23 to propel the football club forward.

The money will be used to buy equipment like helmets and shoulder pads, but the overall costs for establishing an NCAA recognized team is much larger.