This opinion piece was published in The Appalachian.
Something pretty amazing happened in Kidd Brewer Stadium Saturday.
I don’t need to tell the whole story – don’t need to wax poetic about fans spilling out of stadium seating onto the field after knocking off an undefeated, number-one team. At home. In the cold.Regardless, the point is that games like Saturday’s are crucial in periods of our history like the one we’re facing right now. It’s possible that The Appalachian is starting to sound like a broken record on this topic, but it’s true – fiscally, these are dark times.
And when the budget’s low, you lose out on plenty. Clubs, programs, activities, classes and services are being cut all over campus.
But we have one constant here at Appalachian State University, one thing that continues to boost morale no matter what we’re facing.
And we’re about to lose it.
If we make the move to the FBS, we’re taking a university program that has consistently thrived and offering it up as a sacrifice. Sure, all might go well. All might go swimmingly, amazingly – but it’s a risk. It’s not assured.
For every division-move success story, there’s a horror story. We might be a Boise State or a South Florida, moving up in the rankings quickly and spreading our name around the national scene.
Or we might take after Florida International, which lost all but three games in its third year in the FBS, or Louisiana-Monroe, which hasn’t had a winning season since it made the jump…14 years ago.
We could see game attendance dropping, school spirit fading and success waning. We could be willingly giving away one of the biggest points of pride at Appalachian – something that stays steady and constant even when everything else is rocky and uncertain.
Is that really what we want?
My answer is no. Let’s move up to the FBS someday, absolutely. But let’s do it when we’re steady and secure – when the athletics program is just the cherry on top of a university where everything else is going well.
For now, if something’s good – we’d do better not to mess with it.