I'm running a full breakdown over on the BucFootball Facebook page if anyone hasn't connected to us there yet. Link and Like us at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/BucFootball
For those not on Facebook, here's my overall on Dr. Frank from yesterday. I got to watch most of the sessions (in and out, so I did miss some) and am tuned in today as well.
Here's my assessment from today's multiple sessions held with the first candidate for President, Dr. Frank. I like him. He seems very open and genuine in terms of what his own career aspirations have been. His background is in Clinical Psychology, so he'll be able to pick apart a BS'er a football field away.
His consistent message that he'd take the first 100 days to get out and talk to people who have an interest in ETSU and have a stake in ETSU. He met with the President's Council, Dean's, Faculty, Staff, Students, Retired Staff, and Athletics Staff. He had lunch with local political officials. The reception for community, alumni, etc was last night.
The football question came up specifically from the staff, retired staff/faculty, and the Athletics Staff in their forums. If it was raised in any other session I did not hear it. His response, in the first 100 days he knows he will listen and talk to people who have an interest. He'll talk to people and make a determination if it's the right time to pursue the window of opportunity to bring it back or if the obstacles at the time are not right to make the attempt. He emphasized that if it's going to be done, he wants to done right. He specifially mentioned other school's who are starting football, talking to them to see their challenges and what they'd done right and what they wish they could do again.
He's got potential.
In both student sessions, the students said they felt there was a real rift between the community with all their UT things in stores and resturants. He said he'd seen the ETSU Pride signs around town and said that was certainly a 'good start' (((( I was thinking, I guess he doesn't know Bob Plummer's been putting those signs out since 2000, I'm sure he's tired)))). He spoke about the need for the community to embrace ETSU because of the impact on the community. He literally said "money talks" at one session.
The students also addressed the image that ETSU has as a suitcase college/commuter college, yet there are 3800 students living on campus and more in very close proximity off-campus BUT there's NOTHING to do in the evenings and weekends, everything on campus shuts down. One young lady spoke about the lack of involvement on campus and "it's Homecoming now and it's like pulling teeth to get students to come out." They said there's "typically a very small number of students that tend to do most of the things on campus, literally 100 or so"... that's a quote from them.
Dr. Frank on deck with Athletics staff... he just said that Athletics should be a source of PRIDE for the University, students, community and that was something he'd heard was lacking from comments that the students had made.
He did mention in the session with Athletics that the local legislator's were very specific that they wanted football back because it is a source of pride and economic impact. He also had a lengthy discussion with Dr. Stanton about the topic. I'd love to have been a fly on the wall in that conversation.
The Athletics Department stuck to their normal talking points using the term "strategic decision" at least twice to describe the dropping of football. They are very pleased with how they were able to "reallocate resources" ( Mullins also used the phrase "prioritizing resources") and make every program successful and winning championships (keep in mind, they didn't just reallocate the money from killing football, they got a huge windfall in terms of the addition of the restricted student fee of $50 which is now at $250 annually), and things were just great across the board, winning, national rankings, graduating students, happy-happy people.
Mike White finally brought up the elephant in the room with football. He said (and I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong) that he handles questions almost daily about the question of football. Dr. Frank said that he'd heard from various groups/individuals about football and that he'd spoken at length the day before with Dr. Stanton.
His main thoughts on football at that moment were:
1) A facility, 2) cost of scholarships and coaches, 3) Title IX implications (I love it when the candidates also point out in order of the talking points). See other comments for his full commentary on football.
Of course, they left out the part about the ASun being a huge downgrade across the board in terms of conference affiliation and that more schools had left the ASun than had come into the conference since 2003... with most of those being schools transitioning from D2 to D1. The Athletic Director also wanted him to know that he, and every other person in Athletics would be for adding football as long as the other programs were not "hurt" and that it was done right.