Chicago State is aiming to add an FCS football program and took a step closer to making it a reality earlier this week.

Chicago State announced that the school’s board of trustees has approved a proposal to begin a public fundraising initiative to expand its number of sports teams. The wheels began turning on the potential addition of a football program in January, when the school put together an exploratory committee to look at the possibility. The formation of the committee came after a feasibility study was completed in 2021.

Along with the potential addition of a football program, Chicago State also has finalized plans to launch a women’s triathlon program next year.

The primary reason that Chicago State is looking to add a football program and additional sports teams is to boost enrollment, athletic director Dr. Monique Carroll told Chris Vannini of The Athletic.

Chicago State has a current enrollment of approximately 3,000 students and is largely a commuter school. Adding football and more women’s sports could add 210 student-athletes and expand the school’s reach, Carroll said. 

“The number of kids that play in the city that have to leave because it’s not an option [is a lot],” Carroll told The Athletic. “Especially in today’s climate with the transfer portal when kids want to get closer to home, now they’d have an option to play Division I football at home,” she added.

The current timeline of the launch of the football program is the 2025 season. If Chicago State secures the necessary funding to launch the football program, it would become the first school to create a new football team at the Division I level since Kennesaw State in ’15.