St. Francis College in Brooklyn, which boasts the oldest college men’s basketball program in New York City, has announced the end of its entire Division 1 athletic program.
Denis Salamone, the chair of the St. Francis College Board of Trustees, announced Monday that the private institution founded in 1884 would be undergoing a “a strategic realignment plan” to combat “increased operating expenses, flattening revenue streams, and plateauing enrollment due in part to a shrinking pool of high school graduates in the aftermath of the pandemic.”
This included the “elimination” of St. Francis athletic programs.
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“Accordingly, the Board of Trustees recently approved a strategic realignment plan which includes the elimination of the College's NCAA Division I athletics program, effective at the conclusion of the Spring 2023 semester,” Salamone said in a statement, via the college’s website.
“We want to acknowledge that SFC has a rich legacy in competitive athletics, and are proud of our Terriers today and in all years past. This difficult decision was guided by a commitment to preserving the College's 164-year Franciscan mission to provide a high quality and affordable education to working-class and first-generation students.”
St. Francis will honor all current academic and athletic scholarships, despite the decision but added that employment for athletic staff and coaches will end at the conclusion of the spring semester.
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Athletic director Irma Garcia released a separate statement thanking the student athletes and coaches for their commitment.
“I come to you today to share the news of a decision I never anticipated during my time at St. Francis College. I am heartbroken that a decision has been made to eliminate the College's athletics program, effective at the conclusion of the Spring 2023 semester. My heart hurts for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff.”
She continued: “The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible impact on St. Francis College, and as a result, Terrier Athletics.”
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“As we continue to compete this season, I ask that you pour love and positivity into our student-athletes. They have worked all year to play at their highest level and I will be cheering them on until the bitter end.”
St. Francis has 19 teams that compete in the NCAA’s Northeast Conference. The Terriers men’s basketball team was founded in 1896 and boasts six regular season championships.