Cerebral discussions in an academic setting is what attracts students to Huntingdon College. But school leaders want to add something else; the sport of football. College president Dr. Wanda Bigham says, "this is a way of opening up Huntingdon College to a group of individuals, who if they had said in the past, 'I want both a football program and an academic program,' they would've gone on elsewhere."
The new team will eventually have 80 players. Huntingdon officials say football may also attract another 160 students. The football program will be paid for by the extra tuition those students bring in, while the sport provides other benefits. "It builds spirit for Huntingdon College; gives the rest of our student body things that they enjoy doing and just gives opportunities that make it a nice campus life," says Bigham.
While many Alabamians are accustomed to collegiate football on a grand scale, played before dozens of thousands of fans, that's not what Huntingdon has in mind. Its program will operate on a smaller scale, NCAA division three and with smaller players. Football coach Dr. Duane Trogdon says, "they're not going to be recruited by division one. They're probably not going to be recruited by division two; but they want to play; and they're good. They just might not be 6' 4", 245."
Trogdon says building his team of future doctors and lawyers could cost as much as $500,000. Huntingdon officials plan to keep costs down, and say football won't take away from academics or other programs. Games will be at the recently acquired Cloverdale Field; it already has lights, a press box and bleachers. Soon it will have players and fans.