06-17-2010 08:53 PM

Virginia Commonwealth makes some forward progress in the pigskin department.

For years, football has been little more than a punch line at Virginia Commonwealth University. The bookstore sells T-shirts boasting: “VCU Rams Football. Still Undefeated.” When the topic came up under the former president, Eugene Trani, he dismissed the prospect of fielding a team out-of-hand. “He always said, ‘Not on my watch,’” recalls Norwood T. Teague, the university’s athletic director.

But the mood appears to be changing. After years of pressure from students and alumni, and the hiring of new president Michael Rao last year, there’s renewed interest in exploring the possibility, Teague says.

“It’s definitely possible,” he says. “I’m sure in the near future we will probably undergo a study to look at it more in depth.”

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