JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville University is making major changing to its athletics program. On Tuesday morning, the private university said it no longer has a football team.
“After conducting a data-driven analysis, the university announced it will no longer play football and will discontinue its Division I program, effective immediately,” officials with JU said.
Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert said JU will reinvest those resources into other Division I programs to "enhance the experience for all 450 student-athletes."
"When you consider all that we commit to coaching, recruiting, advising, facilities, conditioning, nutrition, and academic counseling, it's clear the resources required to support our football program outweigh the benefits to the overall Athletics Department and the University," Ricker-Gilbert said.
Ricker-Gilbert said they spent the last 12 to 15 months researching the entire athletic program.
“This environment being ever competitive, ever changing, the investment that it takes to run a successful division I program in football, we determined through that evaluation that it was time to make the difficult decision to discontinue the football program here at Jacksonville University,” Ricker-Gilbert said.
“I think it would be a failure for presidents like me to not take these hard decisions on,” University President Tim Cost said. “I think when you look at the long term health of the university and where are the strategic fits down the line, I expect we’ll come back and get through a difficult day like today and come back and be a good university.”
Now, the athlete director and his department will evaluate the football program resources and decide where it will go next.
“We’ll take a look at investing overall in our student athlete population, the 450 other student athletes,” Ricker-Gilbert said. “We’re always doing that to try and enhance their experience. But today and in the short term, our focus is these young men.”
JU said it has been a part of the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League since 1998.
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