With next week's fall election at North Texas set, athletic director Rick Villarreal has been giving tours of Fouts Field to student representatives and groups, hoping to illustrate the need for a student fee to help fund a proposed new football stadium. Starting Monday, students will vote on a proposed $10-per semester hour fee to take effect when or if UNT completes a new stadium, likely no earlier than 2011.
While making his point, Villarreal let everyone know how unhappy he is with the 0-5 Mean Green this season. UNT's poor play has unwittingly helped sway some public opinion against passage of the stadium fee. Opponents say the athletic department, donors and corporations should finance the project without student help. Villarreal has said UNT's athletic department wants a student fee to make up one-third of the cost.
During the latest tour of Fouts, Villarreal made the following comments. KNTU 88.1 provided the audio, which appears on the North Texas Daily web site.
"We keep saying our football program sucks...well it does. I'd be the first to tell you I'm embarrassed as anybody as to how we're playing right now. But the reality is we're not going to get any better until we make changes and support the program. If we want to continue to get worse, and that's how we want people to look at us, then we can keep going down this road, because it's not going to get better."
For context, Villarreal's use of the word "sucks" refers to one of the fee opposition's arguments that UNT students shouldn't be asked to help fund a stadium because the football team isn't good. He has repeatedly said that's a flawed argument, but apparently the current team's play is wearing on him just the same.