UNC-Greensboro carries 17 different sports teams. Currently, there are nine athletic teams for women and eight for men. Athletics have been an important part of the university since the late 1940s, when the women’s university would participate in national golf tournaments.
With a passionate fan base known as “The Blue Crew” and a tradition of athletic success, even though sports are not the biggest draw for UNCG, the school carries a strong past in fielding competitive teams. And this is the standard for the Blue and Gold that has been a part of the university for more than sixty years.
However, with all the enthusiastic fans for campus athletics, there has been one sport that has never been a part of that tradition, and one fans so desperately want: Football.
Aside from showing the Super Bowl in the EUC once a year and t-shirts describing the school’s imaginary team — which has been “Undefeated in Football Since 1891” — football has never been official on the Spartan campus. That is, until this year.
Yes, UNCG finally has a football team. At the end of last semester, a small group of students worked to form a club football team at the university. Though the work has been hard, their efforts have come to fruition with the foundation of a team.
“To start any club or organization at UNCG, you have to have an interest meeting,” club president Dijon Mason said. “We did this and surprisingly had a great turnout. From there, we created a constitution while we were completing paperwork for the school, and after that, it was just a waiting game to see if you were approved, which we were.”
The demands of creating a football club have required Mason to focus on channeling his administrative skills, but this business aspect hasn’t deterred Mason from loving the game.
“I have always had a passion for football ever since playing my freshmen year in high school,” he said. “After playing football in college and then transferring to UNCG, I really felt like this is something I wanted to bring to campus, and having help from friends that had the same mindset helped make this vision possible, which has gotten us to where we are at.”
While students should be as excited as Mason is for the program, before going out and buying a jersey, be aware: unfortunately, as of now, the team is ineligible to compete in the National Club Football Association (NCFA) this year. Still, the team sees this as a positive.
“Of course it is a little disappointing we will not be able to play an official NCFA game this year, but I feel that this gives us time to build upon the club and look to the future,” Mason said.
Still, he hopes for a great audience when the games begin.
“We hope to have a good turnout from the community of UNCG,” he said. “From all the people I have encountered, this is something that has gotten a lot of support so I expect a decent turnout.”
When describing the managerial aspect of the program, Mason talked about the most important factors in creating a club sport team: Money, marketing and players. He discussed the benefit of using social media has as they have spread the word of the club and raised money for equipment and insurance.
“Most of our income for the club comes through fundraisers such as having a GoFundMe account and online fundraising,” Mason said. “We also hold different fundraisers at locations such as Chipotle and other restaurants.”
To spread the word about the team, the players use sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
“We try to get out on social media by using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as hold information booths in the EUC and Dining Hall while handing out flyers or posters,” he said. “We hope to keep spreading the word around campus through students, media sites and the paper.”
According to Mason, between 20 and 25 players have signed up for the team for this spring.
Since that time, more than 100 freshmen have shown interest in joining the team, and with an upcoming interest meeting, that number could increase.
With the amount of people who are showing real interest in joining the team, if and when the team finally is established, it will have no problem gaining the same popularity and passion that is shown to the 17 university teams at UNCG.