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After a comprehensive review, the Board of Trustees has, at my recommendation, voted unanimously to eliminate our intercollegiate football program in order to redirect those resources toward academic initiatives and need-based scholarships.
This decision is not a budget reduction, but rather a strategically driven reallocation of resources. We have no plans for any further major changes to our Division I athletics program, which we believe is an integral part of a fully textured university experience. We will continue to host 17 intercollegiate sports and to continue to invest significantly in our athletics program. However, at the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA) level, football could not attain significant national recognition, and it has had low student, community and media interest, attendance and financial support. In addition, the football program, the largest of the athletic programs, is by far the most expensive. In the end, we could not continue to justify the expense of football compared to the benefits it brought to the University.
This was a difficult decision, undertaken after a thorough review of all aspects of the issue. After much discussion and analysis, we believe with certainty that it is the right choice for Hofstra University. This strategic decision to reallocate resources is based on our academic mission and priorities, and our vision of attaining recognition as one of our nation’s leading universities. Investment in academic initiatives and need-based scholarships is warranted for the long term benefit of our students and the University community.
Simply stated, academic excellence has been and will continue to be our highest priority. Hofstra has made significant strides in the past decade, dramatically improving the credentials of entering classes, adding new professorships and chairs, creating national centers such as the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency and the National Center for Suburban Studies, and establishing the Hofstra University School of Medicine in partnership with North Shore- LIJ Health System. Hofstra’s potential is limitless, and there are many exciting and new possibilities for the future, including enhancements to our hard science and engineering programs, including new graduate programs, as well as new programs in public health and other health related fields.
Our first priority, at this time, is to work with the 84 football student-athletes to ensure that they manage this transition in whatever manner is most comfortable for them. We hope that they will continue to make Hofstra their academic home, and will fully honor their scholarships so they can complete their degrees. However, we will also understand if they decide to transfer to continue playing football while attending school. Whichever they decide to do, we will provide the necessary assistance. We are grateful to all of them, and to our coaching staff, for their dedicated efforts for our University. All of our students and alumni are valued members of the Hofstra family, and we respect and honor the contributions of our football student-athletes over the years.
If we are to continue our momentum and strive to become one of our nation’s best institutions of higher education, standing for excellence in every way, we must invest in academics and programs in which we can compete at the highest level. It is more essential than ever that we invest our resources wisely, and consider fully how we meet our mission as a university.
President, Hofstra University