Big article today in the Bangor Daily News:

Some highlights:

-“It is my expectation that football will continue as a component of the University of Maine, as it has been for more than a century,” said UMaine President Robert Kennedy. “Like all public institutions, we continue to face budget circumstances that require difficult decisions leading to new ways of accomplishing our broad-based mission, which includes providing a comprehensive student experience that is unique in Maine.”

-Football is expensive. UMaine’s budget for 2009-2010 is more than $3 million. That represents 19 percent of the entire athletic budget, which athletic director Blake James said is $15.5 million.

-This fall, UMaine averaged 4,631 fans for five home dates. Even with the Bears coming off an 8-5 season and a playoff appearance, 2009 represents the lowest turnout in at least 12 years

-UMaine has tied in the alumni’s financial backing with another key element of the program’s financial portfolio, a challenge matching grant to the football team by the Alfond Foundation. Each year, the foundation matches — dollar for dollar — whatever the alumni give to football.

-“The University of Maine is playing the highest level we’re ever going to play at. We could not be in a better conference,” Cosgrove said.

-During 2009-2010, there are 43 minorities, almost all of them black, on the 90-man roster. That represents almost one-third of the university’s black students. My note: this is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge consideration. Of 8,500 students at the school, only about 130 are black. Cutting football would bring that number under 100. That would be completely unacceptable.