USF Football Scrambling to Get Passports for Players

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USF officials are hopeful they can get everyone a passport in time for the game.
TAMPA (2009-12-09) -

Only about 10 percent of USF football players have the passport required for them to play in Toronto’s International Bowl game on Jan. 2, according to a university official.

But USF isn’t the only team having this problem. Its opponent, Northern Illinois, also is struggling to get the required passports for all its players and support staff, according to Chris Freet, USF Assistant Athletics Director for Communications.

The USF Bulls football team ended its year with a lackluster 7-5 record. Yet, it was good enough to earn an invitation to the International Bowl against Northern Illinois – also a 7-5 team.

While the Bulls are looking forward to competing in their fifth bowl game, there are some unexpected problems because the game is across the Canadian border. The International Bowl is the only college bowl game held outside the United States.

Freet estimated that only 10 percent of the football players have passports and only 10 percent have their birth certificates with them.

“The biggest logistical issue has been getting passports for 105 student athletes, coaches, staff so that number easily grows to 150,” Freet said.

“So our operations guy has been working about 20 hours a day trying to round up all those details and then get people down to the clerk’s office and try to get those passports here before we leave on December 29th which is a quick, quick turnaround,” Freet added.

The USF Athletics Department also is helping cheerleaders and the Sun Dolls with their passports. They’ve scheduled appointments and taken students in groups of 20 or more to the passport office this week for processing.

Freet said they’re working diligently to get the applications completed and expedited.

“I haven’t heard of any contingency plans. I think everybody is just going full force to get everybody taken care of,” Freet said.

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