The Aug. 28 Bee contained a column by Robert Kuwada which reported on the plans of Fresno State to make a bid to join the Big 12 Athletic Conference. Compliments to Mr. Kuwada for his objective assessment of the obstacles impeding the achievement of such a lofty goal.
Let me suggest that a few stones remain unturned in the reality check which Fresno State must undertake in this regard. First is demographics. The five counties of Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings and Kern, contain a population where 34 percent receive public assistance (welfare, food stamps, subsidized housing). It would seem that pretty much eliminates approximately one-third of Fresno State’s support base from purchasing season tickets to football and basketball games.
Fresno State lags significantly behind several of its Mountain West brethren in the size of athletic department budgets. Imagine how much that gap will widen when it comes time to compete with Texas or Oklahoma.
Then there’s the issue of facilities. Bulldog Stadium seats 18,400 fewer fans than the average stadium in the Big 12,and the average attendance for many Big 12 schools exceeds the capacity of Bulldog Stadium. Perhaps it’s time to distinguish between dreams and folly.
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John Marshall Hobbs, Tulare