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August 06, 2004

Another D-1A Football Program In Jeopardy?

FROM THE SOUTH BAY comes the latest on another Division I-A program twisting in the wind.

The hapless San Jose State football program has been buffeted by a series of challenges and setbacks that have cast serious doubt on the team’s survival.

The primary opponent of the continued existence of the Spartans’ football team is the school’s academic senate, which recently passed a proposal for the disbanding of the team. California’s fiscal crisis has lopped some $240 million in cuts to the Cal-State system, and there have been significant academic cuts at SJSU.

Though the proposal is non-binding, it’s clear that the academes are highly desirous that the athletic department share their pain.

In addition to its contentious faculty colleagues, Spartans football is pressured by two other significant factors: new NCAA requirements for Division I-A football and the Spartans' shortcomings on the field and in the stands.

Spartans football has had just one winning season since 1993.

As for attendance, San Jose State averaged 15,080 last year; the new NCAA D-1A minimum will be 15,000. Too close for comfort.

The revolving presidential door that has been the SJSU presidency has not helped matters. The latest president, Paul Yu, resigned (for health reasons) after less than three weeks on the job. Now in place is an acting president, who will be replaced by an interim president, who will be replaced by another “permanent” president. The eventual president will be San Jose State's sixth since July 2003!

Football coach Fitz Hill, appears to be the epitome of positivism, hope and focus amidst the stop and start that has been his day-to-day.

He claims he has no anxiety about his future. "Hey, at Arkansas, where I was an assistant, I saw a (coach) fired after one game. You only worry about one year at a time. I'm not worrying about next year."

What a great attitude.

(this 314 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was culled from a 1458 word article from the San Francisco Chronicle of 8-6-04 and a 406 word article from the San Jose Mercury News of 8-5-04)