When the calendar flips to autumn, Oakland University sports many trademarks of the harvest season. Around campus, leaves change color, a chill is in the air and students bundle up to trek from class to class. Yet, one fall staple is missing and freshman David Brosky is on a mission to change that.
Brosky wants to bring football to Oakland. Many articles, conversations and debates have come about over the years on whether the Golden Grizzlies should be allowed on the gridiron. Despite the great interest of many students, the only football seen on campus has been the intramural flag leagues.
“I truly believe there is a hunger for football here,” said Nic Bongers, official adviser to the team. “Lots of faculty, staff and students that I’ve personally talked to said something is missing from our campus culture and that is football.”
Brosky, an education major, and Bongers, instructional graphic designer in the e-Learning and Instructional Support department, are working together to create a club football team. Being designated as a ‘club’ means Brosky and his potential teammates will still be allowed to compete under the Oakland banner, but will not be an official team sponsored by the school.
“Official” teams such as the basketball, baseball, softball and swimming teams compete under NCAA jurisdiction and receive financial support from Oakland. Meanwhile, club teams such as the hockey teams and lacrosse program are successful in independent leagues, but they must rely mostly on their own funding.
“Oakland would help pay for field rentals and referee fees, but we would have to pay for all our own equipment,” Brosky said. “A ballpark figure we came up with is $500-700 per person.”
On Monday night, Brosky presented his idea before the Club Advisory Council, made up of eight leaders of other clubs on campus. All eight unanimously gave the football club the green light to proceed toward actually competing.
The council is put in place in order to make sure a club will actually draw student’s participation and not simply be a “one-and-done” team. Some clubs in the past have initially drawn interest but dissolved after one season or after the leader graduates or leaves Oakland.
Dan Bettmann, coordinator of Intramural and Club Sports at OU, explained while everything is starting to fall in place, there are still a lot of challenges ahead for the team, especially the startup cost. He said that the football club has passed through all of the necessary startup procedures but now will go through the winter semester as an introductory period.
“Lesser people would have turned away, but David (Brosky) has shown a true passion for this,” Bettmann said. “Whether or not a club succeeds or fails depends on the students.”
Currently, 35 students have signed up for the team, but Brosky thinks an ideal number would be at least 50 players. Interested students must take at least six credits in the fall. In addition to players, the team is looking for students to fill roles such as coaches, photographers, trainers, play-by-play personnel and marketing majors to pursue sponsorships.
Brosky can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and Bongers can be reached at email@example.com and 248-370-3154.