University of New Orleans football stadium (proposed)

Tim Duncan, the director of the University of New Orleans Privateers athletics department (and not to be confused with the five-time NBA champion of the same name), has a bold vision to bring a Division I football team to a 100-acre tract on campus on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. UNO is New Orleans’ largest public university, and has been in operation for over 64 years.

“We think we have something special brewing on the lakefront,” Duncan told NOLA.com’s Jeff Duncan (no relation).

Duncan wants to add football, women’s golf, women’s soccer and a marching band to the department. That can’t happen unless UNO students approve an increase to student fees during a referendum on Nov. 9th, to $300 for part-time students and $400 for full-time students. The added fees would be expected to generate $4 to $5 million to seed the new programs.

Duncan also has plans for a “20,000-seat, open-air stadium from Garcia Architecture,” NOLA.com reported. “UNO officials have identified a 100-acre tract of open land between Maestri Field and Lakeshore Drive as a potential site on the school’s campus.” The stadium plan (a rendering is seen at top) is reportedly still in “the conceptual phase,” but it could go ahead even if the student fee increase isn’t approved; there could be revenue from the stadium (which would also include a track and field facility) from hosting high school games and events.

“This can be a catalyst for all sorts of activity and development, and change the face of our campus,” Duncan said of the stadium, according to the paper. “It could be transformational for our students.”

The Privateers currently compete in the Division I Southland Conference in seven sports, but they’re one of two schools in that conference (along with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) that don’t currently compete in football. (That conference has eight of its 10 full members currently playing football at the Division I-FCS level.) If UNO’s plans for a football team come to fruition, they could begin play by 2025.

[NOLA.com]