WKU President Gary Ransdell supports the proposal that it is in WKU’s best interests, including an opportunity to raise its national profile and to bring football in line with 18 other WKU sports which already compete in the Sun Belt. Ransdell stated that the athletic program was not in federal Title IX compliance in which it must provide equal opportunities for men and women. Because female athletes received 7.5 percent more in scholarship funds than male athletes for the 2004-05 academic year, the movement to I-A football would lead to an improved balance between men and women’s sports.
On the other side of the argument, faculty regent Robert Dietl argued that the I-A move does nothing for the academic mission of the university, and that the added cost will be passed on to students and will affect the academic budget. According to the report, Western’s annual football budget would increase from $2.36 million currently to $5.33 million by the third full year of I-A football. A significant concern is the proposal for the university to generate the money in part from a tuition increase of $70 per student per semester, which would account for $2.18 million a year.
“We’ve spent a lot of money solving a lot of problems and addressing a lot of needs,” Ransdell told the paper. “I would much rather spend this money on other things. As soon as this decision is made I’ll turn my attention to other things. This is just an item on a long list of needs and opportunities. It doesn’t mean it’s any more or less important. It’s just the timing is now to deal with this.”