The University of Minnesota Crookston today announced it will discontinue its football program. The recently completed 2019 season is the last as a varsity sport.
“As an institution, the decision to discontinue any program is extremely difficult,” says Mary Holz-Clause, chancellor at UMN Crookston. "Ensuring a balanced, financially stable profile across our athletics department demands careful analysis, planning, and thoughtful consideration, all of which played a role in making this challenging decision and will continue to play a role in how we approach this work every day. Going forward, we will invest more in other programs to support the diverse demands and interests of our students, taking into account facility needs, departmental balance, budget and competitive opportunities.
“We deeply value the hard work of our student-athletes, coaches, athletic administration and everyone associated with this program. They dedicated themselves to representing our campus community in a positive way and I want to thank them for that,” noted the Chancellor.
The University will honor scholarships for any student-athlete who wishes to continue academically at UMN Crookston. “Assistance will be provided to students as they navigate their future collegiate career. Staff members from athletic compliance, financial aid, student life, and Center for Student Success are available to assist football student-athletes through this transition,” says John Hoffman, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs.
The program has historically faced serious challenges from lack of available funding, challenges that have grown in recent years. Without substantial and ongoing financial investment in facilities, student-athlete development, scholarships and staffing, the football program cannot be maintained, let alone improve competitively.
Lacking the ability to make these investments, either now or in the future, Crookston will reallocate football-related expenditures into other areas of its athletics department to enhance and strengthen its other 12 NCAA Division II athletic programs, 11 of which compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC). These resources will provide more flexibility in roster sizes, scholarship offerings and staffing across all Golden Eagle programs, while also creating new opportunities to invest in maintaining and improving athletic facilities.
“Discontinuing the football program was not an option we wanted to pursue, but as we worked through the process, it became evident that it was the right decision for the long-term health of our athletics department,” said Stephanie Helgeson, director of athletics. “This will move Golden Eagle Athletics into its strongest possible future, one in which we can better support all of our athletics programs and provide an outstanding collegiate experience to each of our student-athletes.”
About UMN Crookston
One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at c.umn.edu
The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at system.umn.edu