St. Francis College in Brooklyn cutting all athletic programs

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St. Francis College cutting athletics
St. Francis College in Brooklyn (Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

St. Francis College in Brooklyn is cutting all of its athletic programs effective at the conclusion of the Spring 2023 semester, the school announced on Monday afternoon.

With it, school president Dr. Miguel Martinez-Saenz requested a personal leave on Sunday, which was granted by the Board of Trustees. Tim Cecere, the school’s COO, was named acting president on Monday.

“There are challenges facing higher education institutions, particularly smaller liberal arts colleges in the Northeast, from which SFC is not immune,” Denis J. Salamone, chair of the school’s board of trustees, said in a statement. “Among these challenges are 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.

“The St. Francis College Board of Trustees and Leadership are responding to these challenges by acting decisively with plans in place to benefit the College and the students we serve. Accordingly, the Board of Trustees recently approved a strategic realignment plan which includes the elimination of the college’s NCAA Division I athletics program.”

All students who are a part of the 21 varsity teams across 10 different sports at the NCAA level, will have their academic and athletic scholarships honored.

“We want to acknowledge that SFC has a rich legacy in competitive athletics, and are proud of our Terriers today and in all years past,” Salmone said. “This difficult decision was guided by a commitment to preserving the College’s 164-year Franciscan mission to provide a high-quality and affordable education to working-class and first-generation students.”

The school’s most prominent and historic program was men’s basketball, which was a charter member of the NEC and the oldest basketball program in New York City. The team recently completed its 104th season by going 14-16 and finishing fourth in the Northeast Conference (NEC) with a 9-7 record.

St. Francis fell to Fairleigh Dickinson in the NEC quarterfinals, who went on to win the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and become just the second No. 16 ever to upset a No. 1 seed, stunning Purude 63-58 on Friday. 

The program made four NIT appearances in its history, including a fourth-place finish in 1956.

The women’s basketball program made its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid in 2015 while the men’s soccer team made nine NCAA Tournament appearances.

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