This fall, with every goal or touchdown they score, Fordham’s student-athletes will be doing more than advancing their teams toward victory. They’ll also be advancing their teams’ fundraising efforts, thanks to a new and creative effort to engage Ram fans in their teams’ success.

The Ramses Challenge was announced Aug. 31 by Fordham athletics, just in time for the fall season. Donors are asked to pledge an amount they’ll give for every touchdown or defensive sack by the football team; every goal scored by the water polo or men’s or women’s soccer teams; each set won by the volleyball team; or each top-20% finisher in the cross country program. All gifts are tax deductible and go directly to the donor’s sport of choice.

So far, all of the fall teams have received donations through the challenge, which will eventually be expanded to all varsity sports and, likely, to Fordham’s club sports as well. “We want our supporters to feel like they are a part of the team, in that we want them to feel just as excited as our student-athletes about every touchdown or goal scored,” said Ed Kull, Fordham athletics director.

The donated funds will advance Fordham’s $350 million fundraising campaign, Cura Personalis | For Every Fordham Student, by supporting recruitment, team travel, gear and equipment, tutors and academic support, and other things important to teams’ success and players’ growth and development.

Stronger Bonds

The programs’ coaches hailed the initiative for its potential to strengthen bonds that sustain their programs.

“This is such a great opportunity to reconnect with our alumni and support Fordham volleyball,” said Ian Choi, the program’s head coach. “The landscape of college athletics is changing so rapidly, but our program has never wavered in our dedication and regard for the student-athlete.”

Joe Conlin, head football coach, expressed gratitude for the challenge, calling it “a great way to engage our former players who played on the offensive and defensive lines, and also have parents support their players.”

The football Rams have made a strong start to the season and to the Ramses Challenge—they scored six touchdowns and three field goals in the Sept. 17 Homecoming game, prevailing over the University at Albany 48-45 for a 3-0 record to date. That night, the men’s soccer team, four-time Atlantic 10 champions, played the University of Rhode Island to a 2-2 draw in their opening Atlantic 10 contest. The next day, the water polo team completed a perfect 4-0 weekend at the Bison Invitational.

Achievements Beyond the Playing Field

In other recent highlights, in July the volleyball team earned a 2022 United States Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic award, the third straight year the Rams have earned that honor. Also, 12 of the team’s student-athletes were among the 290 Rams who earned placement on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll for the 2021–2022 academic year.

On Sept. 14, the cross country and track and field program announced that it earned a Tara VanDerveer Fund for the Advancement of Women in Coaching grant, making Fordham one of only 10 colleges and universities to receive that honor this year. The grant is awarded by the Women’s Sports Foundation to support women coaches’ professional development.

“We recognize the critical importance of closing the gender gap in the coaching ranks,” said Brian Horowitz, FCRH ’10, GSE ’11, head coach of Fordham men’s and women’s cross country and track and field teams, “and seeing more women in these influential roles helps inspire our female student-athletes.”

He said the program’s VanDerveer Fellow, Assistant Coach Nickeela Austin, is vital to the program, “and this grant will allow her to continue to grow both as a coach and as a professional.”

See below for links to join the Ramses Challenge or make a one-time donation to a program:

Water Polo
Men’s Soccer
Women’s Soccer
Cross Country


Chris Gosier is research news director for Fordham Now. He can be reached at (646) 312-8267 or [email protected].