Sunday, March 29, 2009

Colorado College Football RIP. Who could be next?

As many of you know by now Colorado College has killed their football program (also water polo and softball). Honestly, this is scary has heck as this is the 3rd D3 program to go away and 2nd western small college program to drop this year (Division II Western Washington was the other if you are living in a cave). Is this where it ends or are there more programs out in the far west that could be up on the chopping block in the near future? I hate to say it but I think there are 3 programs that I can name off the top of my head that could be in real danger over the next year or two of fading away if the economy continues to impact budgets.

---Southern Oregon. Even before the economy went into the tank this was an athletic department that has been rumored to be on the brink of program cuts for year and football has been one that is most talked about. The NAIA program is not only isolated by its location but also by their status of being an independent. With no true home or set opponents to play each year the Raiders schedule is in constant flux with brutal road trips that have to be a heavy drain on their budget. Add the fact that the only way the Raiders can build a strong program is by increasing their scholarship dollars and you have a toxic mix for administration to use the 'ol “times are tough” line before they nuke an athletic program. I think the only way this football program can survive is to make the move to Division II and join the current 4 teams that make up the GNAC. However, their other athletic programs have a nice local NAIA conference (Cascade Conference) so there is the catch. Do you move everyone up to just save the football program? I guess this will be answered in the near future.

---Lewis & Clark. *Sigh* I wasn’t too worried about the Pios until Colorado College football went “breast plate” up. This is the 2nd D3 team on L&C’s 2009 schedule that has now died off and Colorado College was L&C’s homecoming game. Now this is where the difference is between SOU and L&C. For the Pio’s administration cutting football wouldn’t be about saving money as it would be more about a general apathy towards the sport on Palatine Hill. It’s no secret that football not only has to fight on the field for respect but also on their campus as the culture of L&C isn’t exactly athletic friendly. After the 2005 season debacle and near death of the program the Lewis & Clark administration rallied and put together a review board that worked up a plan to revive and promote L&C football. While they have hired a few more full time football staff members and have brought in some better numbers they still have a ways to go to be competitive week in and week out in the NWC and I’m worried that if that if 2009 is filled with more 65-7 losses then I can see a push to remove the sport due to a lack of competitiveness and for the administration to use the weak economy as the public out. *crossing fingers*

---Menlo. Their travel budget for football has to be bonkers. Every road game is a flight (unless they bus down to play the SCIAC schools during the non-conference season) but regardless the Oaks are in a tough spot in regards to travel. However, the Oaks have been doing this for years and years and have managed to survive so spending dollars on flights is something they have great experience in managing. Also, when you factor in that the student body at Menlo is about 600 undergrads tops and 80-90 of those students are football players then I just can’t see Menlo dropping the sport without really hurting the core of the college.

I hope that the pro-football folks in these college communities are being active now in making sure administration is aware that current players, families, and alumni would be active in helping these programs maintain their health. Bring a football program back from being cut is a tough sell (just ask Pacific).

1 comment:

University said...

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Colorado College