The University of New Orleans is working towards bringing back football in the near future. With New Orleans providing one of the biggest markets in Louisiana, this can be a game changer in the Southland Conference. If UNO can get approved to play, football, as well as marching band and women’s golf and soccer, expect to see a big recruitment sweep within New Orleans. What all has to take place for this to work? And what will this mean for UNO students and fans? We go inside what it will take for UNO football to make an appearance.
UNO announces “Wake The Lake” campaign
On Sept. 29, UNO announced their campaign to draw students into bringing UNO football back to New Orleans. But football is not the only one that’s coming back if the proposal is approved. UNO students have the ability to change the perspective on UNO and what they are capable of.
Here’s what UNO Athletics said on Thursday:
“On Nov. 9, students at the University of New Orleans will decide if they want to bring college football to the Lakefront. The student body will have the opportunity to vote on an increase in a fee for an enhanced student experience to include football, marching band, women’s golf and women’s soccer. The fee, which would be a net increase of $300 for a full-time student, will also benefit intramural and club programs, student activities, diversity and student retention programs.
“In advance of the vote, New Orleans Athletics has launched a #WaketheLake website to provide information to students and the community. The department has scheduled a series of 10 town hall meetings to answer questions about the proposal. The first eight meetings will consist of student, faculty and staff leadership groups. Town hall meetings on October 31 and November 8 will be open to the campus community.”
What this can do for UNO in recruiting
Most, if not all of UNO’s recruiting is literally in their backyard. High schools like Edna Karr, St. Augustine, Jesuit, and others produce top-notch talent that with the right school can land student-athletes into the professional world prepared. The absence of UNO football gave Nicholls and Southeastern Louisiana the reigns to recruit those top-notch players and elevate their status professionally. Former Nicholls State University football standout wide receiver Dai’Jean Dixon, according to Nicholls Athletics, signed a rookie free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints. Even though his journey took him away from home, Dixon, a Karr alumni, held his ground in the seasons with the Colonels and was put in position to succeed. UNO can obtain cats like Dixon and stress less about looking outside of New Orleans for student athletes.
Can the Privateers compete right away?
In a sense, a complete build for UNO will be tough, but doable with the right pieces. Time will tell, but if the Privateers can find a way to win and create a culture within the team, anything can happen. Will they beat UIW or Southeastern right away? Probably not. Could they give those schools, as well as Nicholls and McNeese a run for their money? Sure. But bringing UNO football back to the Big Easy can shake up the Southland in many ways. Especially in a season as even as this one is, UNO could surprise folks from around Louisiana and beyond. Until then, we’ll just have to wait for November’s vote to start anything.