As universities across the country ponder whether football will be played in the fall, one school has made up its mind — and it's taking a pass.
Florida Institute of Technology announced Monday that it is dropping football, a sport it added in 2011, due to budgetary concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, the NCAA Division II school in Melbourne is believed to be the first program to disband football in the wake of the public health and economic crisis.
“The unprecedented uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the university to make difficult personnel and programmatic decisions,” the school explained in a Q&A on its website. “Eliminating the expense of the football program is a necessary step to ensure that Florida Tech can continue meeting its core educational mission.”
According to 2018-19 fiscal year figures submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, Florida Tech's football outlay that year was $3.1 million, or about 29 percent of the school's $10.7 million athletics budget.
Although no major programs have disbanded football, Florida International is reportedly cutting its men’s indoor track program, while Old Dominion (wrestling) and Cincinnati (men’s soccer) are also dropping sports.
Florida Tech said it informed the team of the decision via email, which was followed up with a teleconference. It affects 120 players and eight coaches, and the school said it will honor scholarships for up to four years.