As part of a restructuring program announced Monday, St. Francis College (Brooklyn) will eliminate its entire Division I athletics program, effective at the conclusion of the 2023 spring semester.
In a statement published to the St. Francis athletic website, the college said the decision came after a “strategic realignment plan” was recently approved by the college’s Board of Trustees. The college cited an increase of operating expenses, flatter revenue streams and plateauing enrollment in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” the school said in the statement. “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 Terriers will see the dissolution of 19 athletic teams in competition. Basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball and water polo are offered for both men and women, in addition to a women’s bowling team.
The college competes in the Northeast Conference. The Terriers had the oldest college men’s basketball program in New York City, created in 1896.
The college said it would honor all current academic and athletic scholarships, even with the dissolution of the athletic program. It also said that the employment of the athletic staff and coaches of the 19 teams would end at the conclusion of the 2023 spring semester and that the college “will provide information, recommendations, and next-step guidance to help ease this transition.”
In a statement posted to the athletics website, athletic director Irma Garcia, who became the first-ever Latina to lead a D-I athletic program when she took the role in 2007, said she was “heartbroken” by the announcement.
What is St. Francis College?
St. Francis, a private, four-year college in downtown Brooklyn, was founded in 1859 by a group of Franciscan brothers and became the first private school in the diocese of Brooklyn. In September 2022, the college relocated its entire campus to a new location, to The Wheeler Building in Brooklyn. In the May 2021 announcement of the campus relocation, the college said the new location “does not include a gym or pool on site” but that the college was “developing partnerships with nearby institutions to share indoor spaces for practice sessions and competitions. St. Francis College will continue to use various off-site playing fields and other spaces for its outdoor sports.”
St. Francis lists an enrollment of 2,600 and 20,000 alumni. The college’s Terrier mascot was officially adopted in 1933.