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Another CAA program gets cut

hofstraAWhen the Massachusetts football team lost the season finale to Hofstra, neither team could imagine that it would be the last game ever for Hofstra’s football program.

Hofstra University Board of Trustees voted unanimously yesterday to end the program’s 69-year run in order to reallocate its $4.5 million on program costs “new faculty lines, academic programs and need-based scholarships,” according to a Hofstra press release.

“In the long run, we can touch and improve the lives of more students by investing in new and enhanced academic initiatives and increasing funds for need-based scholarships,” Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz said in the release.

The board’s decision, which was recommended by Rabinowitz, marks the second Colonial Athletic Association school to cut their football program since the regular season ended on Nov. 21. Northeastern’s program was cut on Nov. 23 after 74 seasons.

The moves leave 10 teams remaining in the CAA, with the North and South Division maintaining five teams apiece. NU was in the North while Hofstra was in the South.

According to the release, the board does not plan to discontinue any of the school’s other 17 varsity sports.

Like Northeastern, Hofstra made the decision after a two year-long review process of the school’s athletic program, according to the release.

“As we continue to improve our academic programs and reputation, and plan the university’s future, we have to consider the investment we make in all of the university’s programs,” Rabinowitz said in the release. “The cost of the football program, now and in the future, far exceeds the return possible from an FCS program, which does not generate significant national interest. Given that, along with the low level of interest, financial support and attendance among our students, our alumni and the community, the choice was painful, but clear.”

Hofstra Athletic Director Jack Hayes met with coaches and players to make the announcement. All 84 players will remain on scholarship and have the choice to transfer to another school and play immediately.

The decision, based largely on a lack of national attention for the program, was furthered by the lack of interest on the Hofstra campus. According to a report on ESPN.com, the average attendance for games at the team’s 13,000-seat stadium was 4,260, only 500 of which were students.

Hofstra Board of Trustees chair Marilyn B. Monter, said in the release that the school’s financial review of the athletic program is one of many nationwide, evidenced by the earlier review at Northeastern.

“Hofstra is not alone in taking a hard look at athletic spending, and we have a concrete plan for reinvestment in academics,” Monter said in the release. “This isn’t about spending less money, it’s about how we allocate our resources and invest in all of our students.”

Nick O’Malley can be reached at nomalley@student.umass.edu.

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