A series of faculty forums will be held this spring to help University of South Florida (USF) professors decide what they think of a plan to create a football team.
The football question is likely to gather more interest, pro and con, than almost any other campus issue. Some say intercollegiate football would bring a welcome shot of school spirit to the Tampa campus where many students are commuters. Others say a football team is the last thing USF needs.
Speaking on Wednesday to the Faculty Senate, USF president Frank Borkowski said he expects to consult with a range of constituents, including students, USF employees and alumni, before deciding in April or May whether to recommend starting a team.
Ultimately, the state Board of Regents would have to approve any new NCAA sports program, as well as any increase in student fees and certain other budget items. USF's proposal calls for students to pay part of the cost of the team.
Helping people make an informed decision was the purpose of a plan endorsed Wednesday by the Senate. Copies of USF studies and reports will be made available at the library and in deans' offices.
A series of forums will follow at which athletics director Paul Griffin and other officials will be asked to answer questions about the football proposal.
Borkowski agreed Wednesday also to invite an outside expert such as Pennsylvania anthropologist Peggy Reeves Sanday to bring more information to the debate.
Sanday has done research that suggests that big-time athletics and traditional fraternities help create a "rape culture" on American campuses, said Linda Lopez McAlister, one of the professors who asked for that point of view to be included.
_ JAMES HARPER