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UNC Charlotte ready for football

Starting a college football program from scratch is a tricky thing these days.

Aside from needing oodles of money and a commitment from school administration and the student body, people have to believe it’s a venture that will help expand the school’s profile in financial, athletic and academic circles.

Several schools have decided to take the chance. Georgia State and Old Dominion will begin play in the CAA over the next two seasons. UNC Charlotte has also decided to enter the realm of FCS Football.

The 49ers will begin play as an independent in 2013.

Is it a prudent move? The powers that be at Charlotte believe it is, 49ers associate athletic director for media relations Thomas Whitestone told Newsday.The official announcement of Charlotte adding football to its athletic department came after two years of intense research, Whitestone said.

UNC Charlotte are set to put the finishing touches on a 15,000-seat campus stadium. That is small by FBS and even FCS standards, but it was designed to be expandable up to 40,000 seats.

Does the university have the fan base? With a student enrollment of 25,000 and a strong alumni base, school administrators believe the support will be there.

With 3,500 seat licenses already sold, the 49ers should hit the ground running.


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