Roadrunners could begin play by 2011

AUSTIN, Texas -- The University of Texas at San Antonio got approval Thursday to create a football program, and officials think the Roadrunners could play their first game as early as the fall of 2011.

"It's a historic moment for us," said UTSA president Ricardo Romo, speaking to reporters after the UT Board of Regents voted unanimously to approve an expansion that will include an $84 million athletic complex. "I think the real work begins now."

Money from student fees, existing athletics funding and private sources will be used to pay for the football program, officials said.

University officials will embark on a $100 million fundraising campaign, $15 million of which will be slated for creation of the football team, they said.

Athletic director Lynn Hickey said the school would look to hire a coach "as quickly as we can." The Roadrunners football team will be part of the Division I-AA Football Championship Subdivision, or FCS.

Romo said adding a football program would enhance the student experience at UTSA without undermining the university's core mission.

"Academics will always be our top priority," he said.

UTSA, with 28,400 students, is the second-largest school in the University of Texas system.

The only other university in San Antonio to offer a scholarship football program is the University of the Incarnate Word, a small Catholic college that begins play next fall.