1. Is "football" a new idea at Calvin?

2. Why study it again now?

3. Why such a comprehensive study of football?

4. How did the task force begin, and how were members selected?

5. How will the decision be made?

6. What has the task force been doing, and what is the timeline?

 7. Does football, as an intercollegiate sport, fit within the mission of Calvin College

8. Would football change the way Calvin does athletics?

9. How would football fit into and possibly change (for both better and/or worse) the campus culture of Calvin College?

10. Would football turn Calvin into a “Jock” college, one that focuses too much on sports?

11. Football teams are large and visible. What positive and negative changes would this bring to the student body?

12. Is the aggression level associated with football accurate, necessary, different than other sports, and/or especially difficult to justify from a Christian perspective?  

13. What are the potential benefits for football student-athletes at Calvin?

14. Do football student athletes miss a lot of classes

15. Beyond all the obvious questions, what opportunities would exist both on and off campus by adding football

16. Do current Calvin student-athletes get into trouble more than other students

17. Would football mean that Calvin would be unable to comply with Title IX?

18. Are student-athletes who play football likely to be different than Calvin’s current student-athletes with regard to academic achievement

19. Do football players experience more serious injuries than those who participate in other sports?

20. What are the total startup costs, facility costs, and annual costs of adding football, and how will Calvin cover these costs?

21. How many students can we expect Calvin to add to enrollment with the addition of football

22. Could Calvin’s football team be successful



1. Is "football" a new idea at Calvin?

Interest in adding American football as an intercollegiate sport at Calvin has been around for a long time.  Much of this interest is not recorded, but some is.  For instance, in 1969, a Calvin study committee recommended that Calvin develop an intramural football program that would phase into an intercollegiate program.  The request was denied.  In 1976, the topic was reviewed again as reported in a Chimes article, yet there is no record of official action by the college at that time. In 1985, students (65-70) organized and asked Student Life administrators to sponsor a club; this request was also denied, but an official study committee was recommended.  That study committee came together and filed a report in 1987 recommending that Calvin not add football.


2. Why study it again now?

The 1987 report concluded with a recommendation that Calvin should revisit the football question periodically, and it has been roughly 25 years since the last study.  Currently, there is interest in football both on and off campus.  Brian Bolt, the task force chair, felt the interest had risen to the level that the question needed to be revisited.   Additionally, the landscape has changed some since the last study.  For instance, more high schools now have football programs, including some Christian schools from which Calvin has historically had high enrollment.  Societal perceptions of the cost and benefits of sport, financial and otherwise, have also changed in recent years, and more data is available today than was the case in the past.  Finally, the outdoor athletic facilities of the college are in need of substantial attention, and the question of whether or not football should be added at Calvin needs to be answered for short and long term outdoor facility planning.  


3. Why such a comprehensive study of football?

At Calvin, we believe all athletic teams are important parts of the college’s overall mission, and the college supports each very well. American football is very large and very visible in U.S. culture, and the addition of a sport of this proportion would have a substantial impact both on and off-campus.  We felt a decision by the college whether or not to add football warranted significant study. 


4. How did the task force begin, and how were members selected?

As interest grew, Kinesiology Department chair Brian Bolt met with the Dean of Social Sciences (Cheryl Brandsen) and three college Vice-Presidents (Ken Erffmeyer, Russ Bloem, Claudia Beversluis) to discuss the idea of a task force to study football.  From there, Brian Bolt spoke with President Byker who did not take a position on the idea but suggested the request go to the President’s Cabinet and to the Planning and Priorities Committee.  A proposal was brought to both bodies.  Planning and Priorities officially granted permission for the task force in February, 2011. 

Several people who were thought to be interested in the idea (some pro, some con) of football and those who would be representative of the college were invited to be a part of the task force.  Members were not asked whether they supported or rejected the idea of adding football; rather, they were asked whether they thought the idea of serving on a task force was interesting and whether they were open to the possibility of football at Calvin.  The task force has grown some since the beginning roster as more expertise or representation was needed.  Click here to see a complete list of the task force members


5. How will the decision be made?

The role of this Task Force is to report to the Athletics Committee and to the Planning and Priorities committee.  The report will include a recommendation to either not add football or to continue the process of adding football as an intercollegiate sport at Calvin College.   

The prospect of football at Calvin is an exciting opportunity for some, a worrisome proposition to others, and many are indifferent or on the fence.  The main purpose of the Task Force is to gather the data needed to make an informed decision about football, one way or the other.  There are many misperceptions about intercollegiate sport in general and about football in particular which this data will help to clarify.  Ultimately, the question of whether football is right for Calvin is a uniquely “Calvin” decision, but hopefully the results of our work will help the decision-makers be better informed. 


6. What has the task force been doing, and what is the timeline?

The mandate of the task force, put simply, is to study the feasibility of football at Calvin College.  The task force has met in large and small groups since February and will continue to meet until completion of the final report.  The Task Force is following this timeline

At the first meeting the Task Force was divided into 4 subcommittees based on different topics of study.  They are:

  1. Mission/Identity Committee
  2. Academic/Athletic Implications Committee
  3. Finance/Enrollment Committee
  4. Community/Communication Committee

Each committee is currently investigating specific questions.  At present, all of the answers are incomplete and will be informed by more study, visits to comparison schools, and survey data.  One beginning step for the task force was to study reports from Dordt (NAIA), George Fox (NCAA DIII) and Sienna Heights (NAIA) regarding their process for adding football.  However, in seeking answers to these and many other questions, it is important to position the possibility of football at Calvin in the appropriate context.  Calvin is firmly committed to remaining in the NCAA Division III, which means that students who play sports are admitted to the college and provided financial aid in the same way as students who do not play sports.  This is very different from  universities or colleges in higher NCAA divisions (Divisions I and II), and even the small, often private colleges governed by the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Those institutions can provide athletic scholarships and operate under very different parameters for practice and competition than NCAA Division III.  For this reason the task force will look closely at Division III schools for information, and we have chosen three schools for close comparison (Hope, Ohio Northern, Wheaton) because there are aspects of each of these schools that are similar to Calvin.

The following are some preliminary answers to questions often posed by those with an interest (pro or con) in football at Calvin College are posted here.  We hope this information is helpful as you consider your position on football at Calvin. 


7. Does football, as an intercollegiate sport, fit within the mission of Calvin College? 

The following vision guides intercollegiate athletics at Calvin:

At Calvin College the athletics program is part of a comprehensive liberal arts education in the Reformed tradition of Christianity.  Through our learning and our competition, we seek to be agents of renewal in our world, and offer our hearts and lives to do God’s work in all areas of life.  By upholding the overall mission and purpose of Calvin College - that of offering an education that is shaped by Christian faith, thought and practice - we endeavor to promote an athletic program that brings glory to God, and honor to the Calvin community.

Calvin already has sports whose intensity, skill requirement, roster size, and public exposure are similar to football.  Because Calvin is a Christian college in the Reformed tradition, we seek to understand the nature of sport through this lens.  Additionally, sport at Calvin is part of the educational enterprise and falls within the parameters of the NCAA Division III philosophy and guidelines, as well as the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Mission Statement (our athletic conference).  In our philosophy, approach, and methods, we seek to honor this context.  If football were added, none of this would change.  Calvin intercollegiate athletics would remain a co-curricular program housed in the Kinesiology Department.  Calvin would remain in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and continue participating in NCAA Division III competition.  


8. Would football change the way Calvin does athletics? 

Calvin has no plans to eliminate any sports to make room for football, but obviously football is a large and visible sport that would produce changes.  Many of the changes would happen within the Kinesiology Department, including adding a large number of student athletes, new faculty/staff positions, and resources of space, attention, and planning for practices and competitions.  However, football would not change Calvin’s current athletic policies or general practices.  An increase in the number of students would affect every department on campus (housing, student life, dining, academic services, counseling, etc.), but the addition of student athletes would not differ much from a general increase in enrollment.  Some offices, such as Campus Events and Sports Information, would encounter substantial increases in needed services. Additional personnel for these services are factored in to the financial model described below.  


9. How would football fit into and possibly change (for both better and/or worse) the campus culture of Calvin College?

The task force has gathered some data on this question, and we plan to gather more during our football game visits this fall.  We plan to attend football games and speak to stakeholders at Hope College, Ohio Northern University, and Wheaton College.  We have identified these institutions because they each share aspects similar to Calvin, currently have football teams, and compete in NCAA Division III.  Below are a few common questions and preliminary answers related to this topic. 

Every college that commented on this topic notes that the answer to this question depends mostly upon the leadership of the football coaching staff and the college at large.  If football student-athletes are treated like all other student-athletes, and student-athletes are treated like all other students, there is no differential impact of adding a football team.  Individual school experiences vary, but some generalizations can be made.  First, NCAA Division III schools have found it easier to integrate all student-athletes into the undergraduate culture than other schools, as the division does not offer scholarships.  NAIA schools, and other NCAA Divisions (mostly D-II in these surveys) offer athletic scholarships, which creates a significantly different motivation for a student-athlete to attend college.   Second, the “cultural” change seems mostly related to the addition of more males (and not strictly football players or even athletes) to a particular campus, and the resulting change in the male/female ratio, as well as a slightly greater emphasis on athletics generally on the campus. 


10. Would football turn Calvin into a “jock” college, one that focuses too much on sports?

The addition of an approximately 100 member football team would change the campus culture.  Calvin athletes are encouraged to interact with the rest of campus, but inevitably students spend more time with people they know the best, and a football team would make student athletes more visible on campus. 

However, compared to most other campuses surveyed, Calvin’s campus culture would be less impacted by the addition of a football team.  This is because Calvin’s undergraduate student body of approximately 3,800, and projected entering classes of 1,000 with football, are larger than most every school for which comparison data is available.  All other MIAA schools (with the exception of Hope at 3,230) have undergraduate enrollments below 2,000.  In other surveys and data, the typical Division III school has a range of 1,800 to 2,500 undergraduate students.   If there is a correlation between student sub-group size and impact, the relative impact of a 50-football player first year class (a high estimate) and a 100-player football roster (a high estimate) at Calvin, would be less than one-half in percentage terms compared to most MIAA schools. 

This also holds true for total athletes on a campus.  If Calvin adds football, approximately 150 (15%) of first-year students would see themselves as athletes (compared to 10% now).  For other MIAA schools with football (and in slightly smaller percentages for other comparison schools), that percentage ranges from 25 percent to 52 percent.


11. Football teams are large and visible. What positive and negative changes would this bring to the student body?

A college, and each individual in a college, can value increased “maleness” and increased “athletic emphasis” quite differently.  From the surveys studied for this report, there were both positive and negative comments.  The most common positive comments included items such as more school spirit, more leadership, less individualism and more appreciation for groups, more energy, and more exciting Saturdays.  Common negative comments included increased favoritism toward athletes, some isolation of (early fall arriving) athletes of all types, more campus aggressiveness, and some additional demand on student support services. 

Adding a football team to Calvin’s campus would probably increase Calvin’s public profile as a school with an active and full athletic program.  Considered positively, this could complement and complete the public’s perception of Calvin.  Considered negatively, sports might “crowd out” other Calvin activities in the public mind.

12. Is the "aggression level" associated with football accurate, necessary, different than other sports, and/or especially difficult to justify from a Christian perspective?  

The last part of this question assumes that there is a clear negative correlation between appropriate Christian behaviors and increasingly aggressive behaviors—the more Christian something is, the less aggression there is, and vice-versa.  This is not the place to dispute this assertion, other than to point out that the context of behavior is important.

In this discussion of football at Calvin, a better question is whether there is a fundamental conflict between excellently played Division III football and a Christian world- and life- view.  To that question, based both on data and a review of comparison schools, the answer seems to be “no.”  Calvin hosts other sports with similar characteristics that might be termed “aggressive”—high contact sports, sports with similar injury rates, sports which encourage fan loyalty and expression, and other characteristics. 


13. What potential benefits can Calvin offer to football student-athletes?

The fact that we are attracted to sport reveals something about our humanity, about who we are, about our playfulness, our desire to be excellent, and our desire to belong.   Skill development and playfulness most often leads a person to challenge his or her abilities against others.  Performing something well is deeply satisfying, but the addition of testing against one’s personal best and then comparing that to others through competition adds to the allure, and doing all of this on a team means that the exhilaration is shared and multiplied.  People play sports primarily for the love of the game, the love of the competition, the love of doing something well, and the love of the community in which they participate. When we do sport well, we nurture this love as a spectacular gift  - as part of the human life, and we remind ourselves of the giver of all good things.  Our goal is for all Calvin student athletes to experience this love within the context of a Christ-centered community, with the appropriate detachment and perspective inherent in a Christian world and life view. 


14. Do football student athletes miss a lot of classes? 

in general, football players will have fewer class conflicts than nearly every other sport at Calvin, because college football is played on Saturdays, either during the day or in the evening.  For the NCAA Division III, the following chart shows the 2010 average classes missed per week during the season by sport:

 Baseball   Men's Basketball   Football   Men's Sports   Women's Basketball   Women's Sports 
11% 8% 5% 5% 3% 6%


Student athletes in all sports occasionally miss classes for competitions. For example, if Calvin were to schedule a long distance away game, it may require an overnight stay, which would mean the possibility of missed classes for football student athletes. When this happens, student athletes are instructed to keep professors informed of their time away from class and to stay current with all course work.  

Student athletes are also encouraged to register for classes early in the day to avoid conflicts with practice or competition.


15. Beyond all the obvious questions, what opportunities would exist both on and off campus by adding football? 

Calvin seeks to promote its sports as a part of the total community experience.  Football has the potential to be a gathering event for the Calvin community and beyond. Pageantry, community pride, suspension of reality, unfolding story, intrigue of the unknown, and the possibility of extraordinary moments all partially explain the motivation to be a sports fan, and Calvin would seek to develop a festive collegiate atmosphere surrounding football games. 

Interviews with comparison colleges revealed the importance of having a stadium on-campus, so the task force has explored on-campus football stadium possibilities as part of its work.  At Calvin we would invite the community to joyfully participate in football games as we do with other sporting events. 

In our research of athletic directors and student life coordinators of other colleges, both negative and positive aspects of football were listed.  Most indicated that the positives outweigh the negatives.  However, they stressed that the sport had to fit within the mission of the college, and that the quality of administration and coaching leadership makes an important difference. 

The following positive and negative outcomes were mentioned about football at comparison schools and other institutions…

     Positive Outcomes      Negative Outcomes
  • Football is a large benefit with alumni
  • Football increases male student enrollment
  • Football adds to student diversity
  • Football is a big rallying point in the fall
  • Football brings in student-athletes who also participate in other sports
  • Football is a foundational aspect of a Fall homecoming celebration
  • A football program is very expensive to run
  • Teams have to recruit from greater distances
  • Athletes sometimes do not mix in with the rest of campus
  • Athletes raise more judicial concerns

16. Do current Calvin student-athletes get into trouble more than other students? 

No. Student-athletes make up about 10% of Calvin's student population.  The percentage of student-athletes involved in adjudicated cases on campus in the last five years falls well below 10% (see chart below)

Calvin Discipline Statistics: Five Year Adjudicated Case Totals

Academic Year



















17. Would football mean that Calvin would be unable to comply with Title IX?

No.  Calvin takes Title IX requirements very seriously.   Because Title IX has multiple methods for compliance (see below), Calvin could continue to meet Title IX requirements if football was added.  Under Title IX, one of three “prongs” must be satisfied. Calvin is currently in compliance under prong 1, and if football were added, Calvin could take steps to be in compliance with prongs two and/or three. 

  • Prong one - Providing athletic participation opportunities that are substantially proportionate to the student enrollment, OR
  • Prong two - Demonstrate a continual expansion of athletic opportunities for the underrepresented sex, OR
  • Prong three - Full and effective accommodation of the interest and ability of underrepresented sex.

Currently, is the academic profile of student athletes at Calvin different than the larger student body?

When a student applies to Calvin College, being a student athlete has nothing to do with his or her acceptance to Calvin or financial aid.  Students that apply and ultimately come to Calvin must meet standards consistent with all students at Calvin.  Student-athletes commit a large number of hours to practice and competition during the academic year.  It appears that student-athletes are very good at time management, since the GPA comparison for student athletes to other students is nearly equal. 

Student Category

Average GPA

Male Student-Athlete


Male Non-Athlete




Female Student-Athlete


Female Non-Athlete


18. Are student-athletes who play football likely to be different than Calvin’s current student-athletes with regard to academic achievement? 

The answer to this question is, “probably”.  Data shared from our comparison schools shows differences in football when compared with the rest of the male student population, but similarities to other male student athletes. 

To try to answer this question, we acquired information from our comparison schools.  Data from these schools shows that football student athletes have slightly lower GPA's (0.2 to 0.3 points lower) than the average male student athlete GPAs.  


19. Do football players experience more serious injuries than those who participate in other sports?

The quick answer is yes (in games) and no (in practice).  Football is a sport that causes injury at one of the highest rates, especially during competition.  However, the overall injury rates are comparable to other sports, and many of those sports are currently offered at Calvin.   Injury rates and types of injuries vary greatly by each particular sport.

All athletic pursuits involve risk of injury.  Football is often thought of as a “rougher” sport with more injuries and more severe injuries than other sports. One fact to remember in this discussion is the size of a football program.  It is likely that a football program at Calvin will add more than 100 athletes.  Thus, injury rates need to be evaluated with the knowledge that outside of track and field, this will be the largest group of athletes on the same team on campus by a fairly wide margin.  Currently there are approximately 400 intercollegiate athletes at Calvin.  Athletes who participate in multiple sports and/or multiple seasons are counted each season they participate.

Injury Rates

Injury rates during football games are higher than any other sport, while practice rates are very similar across many sports.  At the Division III (D-III) level, overall game injury rates and practice injury rates (per 1000 athlete-exposure opportunities) are 12.36 and 3.62 respectively.  (An exposure opportunity occurs when one student-athlete participates in a sanctioned practice or game. Practice injuries are collected only during the competitive season, and do not include nontraditional seasons, summer periods, strength-and-conditioning sessions or captain’s practices).

In looking at D-III fall sports (2004-2009 data), football (42.1) has a competition injury rate approximately twice the next sport (men’s soccer—20.5).  Women’s soccer (19.6) and women’s volleyball (7.3) are next in line.  Interestingly the practice injury rates for the same sports are all fairly similar (7.6, 7.1, 7.8, and 6.6).  Fall sports in general have higher competition and practice injury rates than other sports.

Football has fewer competition dates than most other sports.  When this is taken into consideration, the injury rates combining games and practice are 10.9 per 1,000 athlete-exposures in women’s soccer, 10.7 in men’s soccer, 10.5 in football and 7.9 in women’s volleyball for every 1,000 exposure opportunities (2004-2009 data).

   Competition Injury Rates    Practice Injury Rates    Combined Injury Rates
  1. Football (42.1)
  2. M Soccer (20.5)
  3. W Soccer (19.6) 
  4. W Volleyball (7.3) 
  1. W Soccer (7.8) 
  2. Football (7.6) 
  3. M Soccer (7.1) 
  4. W Volleyball (6.6)
  1. W Soccer (10.9)
  2. M Soccer (10.7)
  3. Football (10.5)
  4. W Volleyball (7.9)


Injury severity (1988-2004)

Ankle ligament sprains, ACL tears, and concussions are three injuries associated with a significant amount of time lost and can be career threatening.  They can also affect life outside of sports.  Regarding ankle sprains, football is very average with multiple sports having higher rates (including both men’s and women’s basketball, both men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball).  ACL tears are highest in women’s soccer, followed by women’s basketball, and then football.  With respect to concussions football is again third, behind men’s ice hockey and women’s soccer.

  1. Catastrophic injuries:  The Annual Survey of Catastrophic Football Injuries 1984-2008 shows 21 cervical cord injuries with incomplete neurological recovery in college athletes over the 25 years studied.  Another 11 cerebral injuries with incomplete neurological recovery occurred for a total of 32 in 25 years.
  1. Concussions are events that can have repercussions both on and off the field.  The ability to study and go to class (the main reasons to go to college) can be significantly impacted when an athlete has a concussion.  As previously noted concussions can happen in any sport, and while football has a high rate, it is lower than two other sports (men’s ice hockey and women’s soccer) currently contested at Calvin.  Without football we have had 46 concussions at Calvin in the last 2.5 years.  Again, it must be noted that the high number of football players will likely mean a higher total number of concussions, as well as other injuries. 

An excerpt from the 2004-2009 NCAA Injury Surveillance Program report summarizes current thoughts on football related concussions.  “The injury data are useful because they tell us factually that concussions occur across sports,” said David Klossner, NCAA director of health and safety and staff liaison to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports. “Too many people think concussion is just a football injury, but from the NCAA’s perspective, it’s a condition that is a concern across all the sports.”

There are many different ways to look at the concussions: here are a few comparisons of the fall data:

  • Concussion is the second-most frequent injury in fall football and women’s soccer, and the fourth-most frequent injury in men’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
  • Concussion accounts for 7.2 percent of game injuries across the four fall sports and 4.7 percent of injuries suffered during practice.
  • Of every 1,000 student-athletes who take the field in any given competition, 2.7 suffer a concussion in football, compared to 2.1 in women’s soccer and 1.1 in men’s soccer.
  • Concussions during competition accounted for about 11 percent of injuries in women’s soccer, 6 percent of injuries in football and men’s soccer, and 4 percent of injuries in women’s volleyball.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a relatively new condition that is still being studied.  So far, most diagnosed cases of CTE have been seen in former professional athletes in football and hockey.  However, CTE has been found in five athletes who have only played as far as college level football.  Additionally, some early signs have been seen in high school athletes.  According to Joseph Maroon MD, team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and one of the thought leaders and researchers on the topic, CTE appears to be related to repetitive micro-trauma as opposed to sustaining concussions, multiple or otherwise.  This is an area that needs to be watched very closely.

In sum, football players will sustain injuries in practice at similar rates as other sports.  Game injury rates will be higher.  The total number of injuries will also be higher as there are more athletes in a football program.  Severe injuries such as concussions will occur as well, as they do in many sports currently contested at Calvin.

More information is available from the following sources:



20. What are the total startup costs, facility costs, and annual costs of adding football, and how will Calvin cover these costs?

At the request of the task force, Calvin's Physical Plant worked with an architectural firm to develop a long term plan for outdoor athletic and student recreation facilities that included the addition of football.  They worked from the assumption that a football stadium needed to be on campus, and that additional practice and play space would would be needed to accommodate other fall and spring sports.  Additionally, Calvin's track is due for replacement regardless of whether football is added.   Several designs were considered, and the current draft contains adjacent football and soccer stadiums, both with lights, which would also accommodate other sports and student recreation such as intramural activities and student clubs. Both the soccer and football stadiums are designed with artificial field turf, which would allow for much more use than natural grass, especially during wet fall and spring seasons.  A new competition track nearby but separate from the football and soccer stadiums is also part of the design.  The infield of the track would be natural grass.

The finance specialists on the task force ran an internal analysis that included one-time start up expenditures, facility construction expenditures, internal annual expenses, and revenue.  This analysis was checked by an outside auditor who was invited to join the task force (Tim Duflo), and was reviewed by Henry DeVries, Calvin’s Vice-President for Administration and Finance (not on task force).

The analysis was guided by the following assumptions:

  • The safety of student athletes would be a high priority
  • Football would be housed within the Kinesiology Department and supported in a way that is consistent with other sports at Calvin
  • There would be three new venues built on campus as a part of this project.  These would include a new track, new soccer stadium, and new football stadium.  The three venues were selected based on current and future outdoor facility needs. 
  • Annual costs will affect college expenses in multiple areas (i.e. dining, insurance, etc.)
  • Facility and staffing needs would grow by 7-8 FTE (analysis by Calvin’s HR Department)
  • Revenue is based on new enrollment alone, not external gifts

The categories below indicate the types of expenses and revenues considered in this analysis.  


Start up Costs
Includes individual player equipment safety equipment, sport specific equipment, technology specific equipment, turf maintenance equipment, one-year administrative expenses

Facility Costs:
There would be three new venues built on the campus:   Track (with natural grass),  Soccer (turf)  and Football (turf).  

Annual Costs                                 

Head football coach (faculty), assistant coaches, athletic trainers, academic services, facility and equipment management, event management, sports information, recruiting coordination, student staff

Dining, insurance, training supplies, equipment renewal travel and meal expenses, officials, ambulance, game day costs, off-campus costs, etc. 


Assumption #1– Number of new students

   Enrollment would be consistent with MIAA averages of 96 players (Phased in buildup of 40/60/80/96)

Assumption #2 – Auxiliary Services

   First and second year students would stay in the dorms, bookstore margins on a per student basis would remain constant, and ticket sales would mimic men’s basketball 

Assumption #3 - Advancement

   No advancement funding was assumed for this analysis. 


Bottom Line

Given the assumptions stated above, the amount of revenue from new student enrollment would exceed annual costs.  The estimated return on investment (ROI) would be 15% annually and would pay back all facility and startup costs in seven years.  Click here for an executive financial summary.



21. How many students can we expect Calvin to add to enrollment with the addition of football? 

This question is difficult to answer, because in Division III there are no athletic scholarships. Students choose Calvin College for a variety of reasons, including student-athletes who anticipate playing sports at Calvin.  However, Calvin College coaches do spend substantial amounts of time recruiting students to the college with the idea that they will play a sport.  In order to get a better handle on anticipated enrollment the task force studied Division III colleges that have recently added football. 

Division III Colleges with "New" Football Programs

Full Time UG Enrollment


Reported Actual Number

Estimated Average

Pacific University, OR


50 to 75


Christopher Newport University, VA


50 to 75


La Grange College, GA


30 to 90


NC Wesleyan College, NC




Castleton State College, VT


30 to 40


Anna Maria College, MA


25 to 30







22. Could Calvin’s football team be successful? 

The Kinesiology department defines sport program “success” in many ways, only one of which is wins and losses.  However, on-field success is the most visible, and a team that performs well on the field is more likely to attract attention on and off campus and provide a desired community atmosphere.  Calvin has a history of athletic performance success that often goes under the radar on campus.  For instance, last year Calvin finished 5th in the Learfield National Directors Cup standings.  The NACDA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup is an award given annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the colleges and universities with the most success in collegiate athletics.

Learfield Director’s Cup Final Standings 2010-11

  1. Williams
  2. Middlebury
  3. Washington University (MO)
  4. Amherst
  5. Calvin

Calvin is the first college on the list without a football team, and three of the top 4 are top ten National Liberal Arts colleges in US News Rankings.  This is a testament to Calvin’s comparative performance success in intercollegiate athletics.  Calvin student athletes work very hard in the classroom and in sport, and we expect the same would be true for football student athletes.   


Still have questions?  E-mail them to: fftf@calvin.edu.