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Ramsey (and others) win - Tulane to keep Football.

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Tulane to Keep Football in Division I-A

By MARY FOSTER, AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS - Tulane University's board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to keep the school's football program in Division I-A.

Tulane's board had considered eliminating the football program or dropping to a lower division, but voted 27-0 with one abstention, against changes, board president John Koerner said at a news conference.

A committee studying what to do with a program that loses $7 million a year gave the board its recommendation before the vote.

The announcement was met with cheers by demonstrators who had gathered in support of the football program, carrying "Roll Wave" signs.

Prominent supporters of the football program included Mayor Ray Nagin and City Councilman Jay Batt, who joined Koerner at the news conference.

The board passed a resolution stating Tulane will attempt to change "the culture" of the NCAA (news - web sites) programs to bring them back into line with the original purpose of athletics "as a recreational pursuit."

The board also called for an aggressive discussion of changing the college bowl championship series "to minimize, if not eliminate, its adverse impact on team I-A intercollegiate athletics" — an apparent reference to the financial disadvantage of teams not in the top tier.

A last-ditch drive over the weekend, directed by athletic director Rick Dickson, doubled the number of season tickets for football to more than 11,000. Last year, there were 5,300 season tickets sold.

Average attendance at games in the Superdome last season was 27,000, boosted by big crowds for games against Texas and Southern.

In addition, the marathon drive picked up another $1 million for the athletic foundation, increasing it to more than $2 million, and boosted the athletic endowment to $14.5 million from the previous $10 million.

Tulane's football program has had mixed results since leaving the Southeastern Conference in 1966, but operations have streamlined since Dickson took over three years ago.

Tulane Stadium was torn down 30 years ago when the team moved to the Superdome. Tulane now plays in Conference USA.

The football team finished 8-5 last season and beat Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl. The men's tennis and women's golf teams reached the NCAA regionals, and the women's basketball team made it to the NCAA tournament for the ninth straight year. The baseball team went to the NCAA regionals.

The possibility of dropping football became public last month and sparked an outcry among fans.

"I don't think the seriousness of this situation really registered with our fans until now," baseball coach Rick Jones said. "Once it did they took it to heart."

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