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49er Football Gets Green Light

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois hspace=2
UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois hspace=2

Five years from now, the Panthers will no longer be the only game in town. UNC-Charlotte trustees voted unanimously today to launch 49er football. The decision to bring football to UNC Charlotte couldn't come fast enough for many students and sports fans. But five years is not long to raise the $43-million it will cost to build a sports complex and stadium on campus. Athletics Director Judy Rose says it's a risk worth taking because football will bring an emotional connection to UNC Charlotte many believe is now missing. "This will define and help define this university," said an emotional Rose after the trustee vote. "For our athletic program this decision today is comparable to the decision made years ago that we would become a research and doctoral granting institution. Two milestones in the evolution of this university, and today's our day." University officials say that if fundraising does not go well, they may have to find a temporary home for the team, and they're considering renovating Memorial Stadium near uptown. 49er football seat licenses will go on sale in January. Student fees to help pay for the team will begin in 2010. Officials hope to hold their first kick-off in 2013