St. Francis College, Brooklyn, which competed in the NCAA's Division I as a member of the Northeast Conference, announced Monday that is discontinuing its entire 21-team athletic program.
"I come to you today to share the news of a decision I never anticipated during my time at St. Francis Brooklyn," director of athletics Irma Garcia said in a statement, as reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. "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."
Coaches were notified of the decision during a 9 a.m. meeting Monday, and student-athletes got word at 12:30, a source told the Daily Eagle.
Athletes who decide to remain at St. Francis will see their scholarships honored.
Denis J. Salamone, chair of the school’s board of trustees, said in a statement that "increased operating expenses, flattening revenue streams, and plateauing enrollment due in part to a shrinking pool of high school graduates in the aftermath of COVID" were the main reasons for the decision to cut the sports teams, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The Terriers men's soccer team won an NEC-high nine titles — most recently in 2020 — and appeared in 10 NCAA tournaments. The water polo team won four conference championships and qualified for the NCAA championships in 2005, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Founded in 1896, the men's basketball team was the oldest in New York City and one of only four Division I teams to never make the NCAA tournament. St. Francis' last shot came in 2015, when the Terriers failed to qualify after they lost to Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference championship.
The women's basketball team made its tournament in 2015 but lost to top-seeded UConn 89-33 in the first round.
Facilities proved problematic. A college building used by some teams was up for sale, forcing basketball and volleyball players to travel — usually by Uber — to a gym at a recreation center, the Daily Eagle reported. The water polo team had to bus to Staten Island to use a community college's pool.