Mad River Union
HUMBOLDT – Community rallying in support of Humboldt State University’s football program now includes a resolution from the county’s Board of Supervisors, one of whose members has described athletics as a means of promoting racial diversity.
Approved at the Oct. 10 supervisors meeting, the resolution states that HSU is “annually incurring a financial deficit” and is “exploring options for addressing the fiscal crisis.”
One of the budget elements “being considered for elimination” is the university’s football program and the resolution states that losing it will be “detrimental” for students and county residents.
Supervisor Rex Bohn, who sponsored the resolution, said a “main point” is to recognize “the ethnic diversity on the football field.”
HSU and the Arcata community are dealing with concerns about racism and Bohn noted that “we’re talking about ethnic diversity and creating teamwork amongst those different ethnic groups and there’s huge diversity on the football team and throughout the athletics program.”
He added, “That gives them something to bond with and be welcome to Humboldt County.”
Bohn also commented on the “leadership at HSU,” which he described as being “always an issue, because nobody’s born and bred here, they get brought in and don’t think it’s going to be a big deal – but it’s a big deal.”
University alumni Jim Redd and Carl Del Grande are co-chairs of a community group raising funds to maintain the football program.
The goal is to raise $2.5 million and Redd said that “commitments” for over $1.5 million were gained within the first week-and-a-half.
“That shows to me and to everybody how important this is,” he told supervisors.
“We, the people, feel strongly about this,” Del Grande said. He called attention to the resolution’s statements on the value of athletics programs.
“The lessons learned on the football field, the basketball court, on the water, wherever, are the life lessons that really stay with you,” he said.
Supervisor Mike Wilson’s district includes Arcata said community support of athletic programs includes going to their games.
“We actually have to make that effort to go and participate, it’s not just the fundraising,” he continued.
Supervisor Virginia Bass said her childhood memories include many experiences related to the university’s football team. Noting that “there’s so much division in communities,” she said there are social benefits “when we find things we can all get behind.”
Del Grande followed up on the positive comments by informing supervisors of the HSU Jacks’ homecoming game, which took place on Oct. 14.