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It's official: Kennesaw State adding football

After years of waiting, rumors, more waiting and more rumors, it's finally official: Kennesaw State is getting a football team. 

The plan to bring football to KSU began in 2008, and it cleared the final hurdle Wednesday with the Board of Regents' approval of the university's plan to fund the program, along with adding the requisite women's scholarships to comply with Title IX. What the regents actually approved, a $100 student fee increase beginning this fall, was actually passed with a 55 percent vote by the school's student body back in 2010, affirmed in October and reaffirmed again in January.

Kennesaw State will begin play in either 2014 or 2015 (with the latter being the most likely), and play in 8,000-seat KSU Stadium. The team will compete on the FCS level, and joining a conference is a major mark on the to-do list for the Kennesaw, Ga., based school. The Owls' teams presently compete in the Atlantic Sun Conference, which does not offer football. The SoCon, Big South and Ohio Valley each make geographic sense, so it will be a matter of finding the best fit for the university with enrollment nearing 25,000 students.

“It’s simply a tremendous way to increase the visibility of the university,” KSU President Dan Papp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The student fee will create as much as $4.8 million in revenue in its first year. Coupled with a $5 million donation from an unnamed sponsor and eight suite commitments at $35,000 each plus $200,000 in annual support from the KSU foundation, and the university expects to create $2.8 million in profit by 2018.

Kennesaw State will hold a celebratory press conference on Thursday, complete with an unveiling of the silent sponsor and the timeline for hiring a head coach.