Menlo College Sacks Football Program, Citing Long Travel Distance, Finances

Menlo College board members made a "difficult decision" on Friday to end the school's football program, citing long travel distances to competitions and costs that have tripled in the last five years.

“This decision was not one made lightly, knowing full well the deep consequences it has on our student-athletes, their hardworking coaches and staff, and our dedicated supporters and alumni,” Menlo College President Dr. Richard A. Moran said in a statement. “The Board of Trustees considered the issue carefully, but ultimately decided that the closure of football was in the best long-term interests of the college.”

The decision was reached by the trustees of Menlo College, in consultation with the President and the Athletic Director.

In a statement, the college insists that leaders are not dropping football just to save money.

Instead, the board said members nixed the program so that they could "reinvest funds to make our other sports stronger and benefit the college more broadly." The college has looked at many options, other than sacking the team, the school stated, but all options were equally expensive and travel intensive.

“The extent of our athletic program successes is noteworthy given that our programs have been stretched so thin in recent years,” said Menlo College Director of Athletics Keith Spataro. “This difficult decision reflects a strong commitment to the future athletic program needs and the stability of our entire student population. Menlo College has struggled for years over the football program’s financial viability, mirroring a national trend that has seen the closure of many college programs in the last decade. The cost, and the inequity of the expense of football compared to their 12 other athletic programs were major contributing factors to this decision.”

“This decision allows us to direct more resources to make our other sports stronger,” added Spataro. “It will also benefit the College more broadly, as it allows for more funds and energy to be directed towards academics.”

All current student-athletes will be allowed to retain their scholarships if they choose to remain at Menlo College. Members of the football team will be offered a roster spot on other Menlo College teams where their skills and interests align, and those with remaining eligibility choosing to transfer will be eligible to play immediately. All coaching staff salaries will be honored through the 2014-15 academic year. The college is committed to fully supporting those affected by this decision while they determine the best decision for the future.

“No college president enjoys seeing a long tradition draw to a close,” Moran said. “We are convinced that this move presents the best opportunity for a strong and vital athletic program at Menlo College in the future. I remain committed to the success of all our students."

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