This week so many of us have signed petitions, responded to messages on social media, called the Alumni Affairs Office, and have even spoken with Trustees. We have shown we are passionateabout our Alma Mater, and that's a great thing... but now it's time to put our money where our mouth is and help, not only maintain a healthy athletic program, but keep Stillman's doors open.
The question on everyone's mind:
Is Stillman considering shutting down the football program?
The answer, yes. Each year Stillman actually loses about $8,000 per student athlete on scholarship, while profiting only $4,000 per regular full time student. The annual football budget costs around $5M, for the regular season alone and the College's expenses are about five times that amount. While we love Homecoming celebrations and step shows, we (Alumni) have not been so faithful in regularly attending other events that promote our sports teams. As a consequence, we have not generated enough funding to fully support the teams.
Here's what this looks like:
Unfortunately, the estimated $4M the college would receive if we had 1,000 students consistently enrolled doesn't even scratch the surface towards the campus maintenance, salaries, equipment, team travel and other expenses -- totaling more than $25M annually. If we discontinue some athletics including, but not limited to football, we would still have a college that meets our needs and purpose as it did prior to obtaining a football team. In order to keep football and other athletic teams, we would need someone/boosters/an organization/or alums
collectively to give a minimum of $2M per year while also buying tickets to every sports game and contest.
It's simple...these programs are not making money for the college and it's costing too much money to operate. Outside of Homecoming, attendance has been minimal at best...and from a financial perspective, it is a good suggestion to discontinue, whether we like it or not. In our own households, we can't spend $50K per year if we only make $30K. We would lose every year and it will affect us over time.
It's the same concept here.
Most football programs generate enough revenue to cover most of the athletics programs...but ours has not. At this point, difficult decisions are being made to keep Stillman College open...which is what we as alums really want to happen.
I know, some of us haven't been taught how to give, when to give, and why it's important to give. However, IT'S TIME TO STEP IT UP! We've highlighted some key donating areas (below) and some of our current fundraising initiatives for easy participation. We have a new website for alumni where we can donate any amount online. We can also make monthly/recurring donations so we don't have to think about when it's time to contribute.
In short, if we do not step up our giving and our participation, WE WILL lose the football team, band, and possibly even our accreditation. It's true, the decision rests with the Board of Trustees and President Millet, but the driving force will be alumni contributions. The petition everyone signed has shown our strength in numbers, but we must follow that showing with some action.