There are over 20 athletic programs at Oswego State, but one popular sport that Oswego State does not have is football. But it has not always been that way.
From the early 1920s to 1976, there was an Oswego State football team. But the reason for the disappearance after 1976 is still a mystery to many people, even Oswego State Athletic Director Tim Hale and Shane Liebler from the Alumni office.
“It’s a great question and one I wish I knew the answer to,” Liebler said. “I looked into this myself last fall.”
The belief is that there were many little reasons for the disappearance, including recruitment difficulties, team funding issues, unpopularity of the program and poor performance of the program. This summer there will be a reunion on campus for the men’s football team with many of the past players, which could finally answer the question of what happened to the football team. Some of the team’s final records were 4-2 in 1973, 6-1 in 1974, 1-6 in 1975 and finally, 2-5 in 1976.
Many of the possible reasons for the football team’s disappearance in the past are the reasons for why Oswego State does not have a football program now, but the main reason is the amount of money it takes to put together a football program.
“A rough estimate would be about $500,000 to $750,000 is what it would take to put together a football team,” Hale said. “You have to consider how much all of the equipment costs and then provide about 100 players with that equipment. Then you get into hiring staff and coaches, it adds up quick.”
The other main factor with having a football team is that there is not a high demand for one. There are not too many Division III teams to begin with, which makes it harder to attract players and coaches. Secondly, according to the rule book, if Oswego State was to start up a football team they would have to start some kind of program for the women’s team as well, which adds to the already large cost of starting a men’s football program.
Some day in the future, interests in starting up a football program at Oswego State might come about, but for now the only football at Oswego State will be in the form of intramural and recreational games.