CHICAGO – The process of bringing a Division I college football program to the south side of Chicago is underway.

Chicago State University announced on Wednesday that they’ve formed a committee to explore the addition of a Division I football program to the school’s athletic department. At the moment, there are no D-1 football programs within the City of Chicago limits.

Per a news release from the school, the members of this committee would include Chicago State faculty, staff, students, partners, community leaders, and “long-standing stakeholders across all levels of football in and around Chicago.”

The school said that the committee will explore the possibility of adding the program over the next few months and report their findings to Chicago State University president Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott.

“The convening of the Exploratory Committee captures the momentum and progress of Chicago State University’s athletics program,” said Scott in a statement. “We are focused on strategies that will both enhance the student experience and support economic development for our community.” 

At the moment, Chicago State has over 150 athletes in 15 Division I programs, having moved to that level in 1994 after competing in NAIA and NCAA Division II. They currently have men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis, indoor and outdoor track teams along with a women’s volleyball program.

There are seven Division I football programs in the State of Illinois, with Illinois, Northern Illinois, and Northwestern playing at the FBS level while Eastern Illinois, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, and Western Illinois playing at the FCS level.

The University of Chicago in Hyde Park competed at the top level of college football from 1892-1939 and was a charter member of the Big Ten Conference before disbanding the program. Brought back in 1969, the Maroons currently compete at the Division III level.

“Chicago’s South Side has a rich history, and is an integral part of a city proud to be the home of the NFL’s charter franchise,” said Chicago State athletic director Dr. Monique Carroll. “Football remains overwhelmingly popular in America, and we are ready to take the necessary steps to usher in a new era in Chicago State athletics.

“We look forward to the work of the Committee as it considers sports expansion for our university,”