Plenty of FCS and Division II football programs have their eyes on making the lucrative jump to FBS football someday–the reality of actually pulling it off, though, isn’t as easy as having the intention.
With the constant realignment of conferences and the successful jumps to DI by schools like UT-San Antonio, Texas State and others, this phenomenon will certainly be more common in the near future.
FCS Jackson State–who currently play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference–appears to be the next school to be angling to make the move, as reports have surfaced the school has a desire to build a new 60,000 seat capacity, domed stadium with an expected price tag of close to $200 million as a replacement for the aging Memorial Stadium in Jackson, which currently seats 50,000.
As it goes, Memorial Stadium sits on a parcel of land that is highly coveted by local developers who are building a large medical complex, and given that, it’s the perfect chance to Jackson State to move into the present and at the same time arm themselves with one of the most important elements of possible FBS membership: a modern, custom-built stadium.
The Tigers averaged less than 10,000 fans over four home dates in 2012–a crowd of 30,000 for the annual Capitol City classic against Alcorn State notwithstanding–so it’s a little difficult to understand the 60,000 seat capacity of the new proposed facility.
In simplest terms, its the ol’ Field of Dreams theory:
Build it and they will come.
But, will they?
Likely not for FCS football, but if Jackson State can position themselves as a target for those conferences unable to land the big players, the jump to FBS may not be so far-fetched.
Regardless, it’s a work in progress that will be interesting to watch. Raising the funding to get ground broken for the new stadium will be step one, and in a volatile and uncertain economic condition this will be much easier said than done.