A small Catholic school NCAA Division-I in Brooklyn, New York has announced it will end its proud athletics program at the beginning of the spring semester.
St. Francis College was founded in 1859 by a group Franciscan brothers. A statement was released Monday to announce the news. Denis J. Salamone (chair of the St. Francis College Board of Trustees) stated that the school is facing financial difficulties due to “increased operational expenses, flattening income streams, and plateauing enrollment, partly due to a shrinking pool high school graduates in response to the pandemic.”
The school’s limited resources will be used in the best interest of its students and the board of trustees decided to end all 19 competitive athletic teams at SFC, including cross-country, basketball, soccer, swimming, diving, tennis and track and field, volleyball and water polo. A women’s bowling club is also available.
All teams will be disbanded after this semester. However, the school will continue to honor athletic scholarships that were awarded to student-athletes. This will allow them to continue their education uninterrupted even though they won’t be participating in collegiate sports. The statement stated that all coaches and staff will be terminated with the end of the semester.
Irma Garcia was the SFC’s athletic director. She assumed the role to much fanfare in 2007 as the first Latina woman to head an NCAA Division-I team.
Garcia wrote, “My heart breaks for our student-athletes and coaches,”
She expressed admiration for all those who “donned Terrier Blue and red” and encouraged Terriers to cheer on their current teams until the bitter end.
SFC claims to have approximately 2,300 students from “working-class” and “first-generation” colleges. It is one of eleven original Northeast Conference members. Fairleigh Dickinson University, a conference team, just defeated Purdue, a 1-seed, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. FDU is the second 16-seed to defeat a 1-seed in NCAA tournament history.
Fairleigh Dickinson beat St. Francis earlier this month in the semi-final round at the Northeast Conference tournament. In a few weeks, St. Francis will be gone from the conference and the Northeast will only have eight remaining teams.