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HSU officials announce football program is here to stay

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ARCATA, Calif. - After months of anticipation, administrators with Humboldt State University (HSU) gathered at the Redwood Bowl Tuesday to announce the fate of the school's football program.

HSU President Lisa Rossbacher announced that HSU would continue fielding its intercollegiate football team, thanks to an outpouring of support from alumni and community donors.

"I am deeply grateful for this commitment and support," HSU President Lisa Rossbacher said to the crowd.

The school's football team had their first intercollegiate game 90 years ago in 1927, according to HSU archives.

The announcement was made at around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 at a press conference with HSU President Lisa Rossbacher and Athletic Director Duncan Robins. President Rossbacher said she was impressed by the passionate group of boosters who led a recent fund drive. They convinced her that they could bring in the resources needed to help continue the football program. "This is a good day for our football team, and a good day for Humboldt State," President Rossbacher said. "We're proud of our athletics program and our football team, and I'm so thankful for those who have stepped up to provide the financial resources to continue all our sports." The announcement was made Tuesday in front of a crowd of student athletes, coaches and invited guests, including prominent boosters. President Rossbacher was joined by Jim Redd, who helped lead the booster fund drive along with Ceva Courtemanche, Head Coach Rob Smith and Interim Athletic Director Duncan Robins. "I'm overwhelmed by what this community was able to do, in such a short period of time," Redd said, who promised to support the process of collecting donations. "We worked hard, because it was something we cared about. We did this for the student athletes, and for the University and the community. It means that the long and proud tradition of Lumberjack football will continue." According to HSU, the future of football, which is the university's most expensive sports program, had long been in question due to financial challenges. The Athletics Department reported struggling to balance its budget, and the university as a whole said it is working to address the ongoing structural deficit. The booster group led a fund drive to find additional resources for athletics, including football, and has committed to providing at least $500,000 for each of the next five years.

Maintaining that high level of donor support will be a challenge, but it's one that boosters say they are sure they can meet. HSU's plan is to collect funds from now through January to support the upcoming fall football season and other sports in the upcoming academic year. Those who made offers of support during the fund drive may fulfill their commitments online at hsujacks.com or by check.

Checks may be made payable to "HSU Athletics." Officials said to write "Support your Jacks" on the memo line, and mail the check to: Gift Processing Center, SBS 285, Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst Street, Arcata CA 95521.

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