With an updated stadium in the works, the inaugural Great West Conference championship rights and a promising new squad, Cal Poly’s football program is on cloud nine under the direction of coach Rich Ellerson.
Ellerson transformed a program that had three straight losing seasons into a football machine.
With added hype, some have questioned whether the Mustangs could move from being a Division 1-AA program to Division 1-A? The answer: not any time soon.
“I can’t see Cal Poly moving to 1-A anytime soon,” defensive coach David Brown said. “One should never say never, but the odds of that happening are closer to never than
soon. I doubt that our athletic department has the funds for such a move.”
The idea of the athletic program moving up to the next level would require many changes to be made to the program as a whole, said Brown. Currently, the Mustangs honor around 60 scholarships for the football program.
With the Division 1-AA limit at 63, this poses no problem. However, if the team were to move up to 1-A, the limit is increased to 85 scholarships.
“We are close to 63 so the department would have to fundraise for at least 22 more scholarships,” Brown said.
Considering that all of those scholarships would be going to male student-athletes, the athletic department would have to compensate for the imbalance in ratio of male to female scholarship athletes due to Title IX regulations by one of three ways.
The regulation “prohibits sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal financial assistance.”
As a result of adding 22 scholarships, the athletics department would either have to come up with additional funds, drop a men’s sport or add an additional women’s sport. At those costs, the change seems unlikely.
If all of those hurdles don’t seem daunting enough, the under construction Alex G. Spanos memorial stadium wouldn’t fit the bill either.
“The proposed new stadium won’t be adequate for the D 1-A level. It’s too small,” Brown said.
According to the NCAA, Division 1-A football requires a 30,000 capacity stadium with an average of 17,000 attendance. The stadium being built will hold approximately 10,000 fans.