OBU Launches Study of Football

Oklahoma Baptist University has launched a study to determine whether the university should add football to its list of athletic offerings.

During the 2005-06 academic year, a study of potential new varsity sports for the university was approved by the OBU Board of Trustees. A committee has since been at work to determine what sports might be added and if football was a possibility.

The research is continuing and includes surveys of faculty, alumni, students, athletic department personnel, donors, the community and other schools who are offering or planning to offer football.

Dr. Norris Russell, OBU director of athletics, is chairing the study. He said the study will conclude early in the spring semester and the findings will be forwarded to OBU President Mark Brister. Input from several constituencies and other schools has already been gathered.

OBU alumni and friends are invited to complete an online survey regarding football at OBU. To complete the brief survey, click here.

“The number of participants in our athletics program has grown steadily over the last several years with the addition of men's and women's soccer and several junior varsity programs,” Russell said. “Athletics seems to be an effective way to boost enrollment while giving students something to connect to at the University.”

Russell emphasized that the study was in the information-gathering stage to see if football is a feasible sport at OBU.

Currently, 91 NAIA schools offer football, including 26 in Oklahoma and neighboring states.

OBU last fielded a football team in 1940.

The university has offered 16 varsity sports teams since the start of varsity soccer in 2004. OBU finished fourth nationally in the 2005-06 NAIA U.S. Sports Academy Director’s Cup standings, which rank overall athletic programs.