Campus: CSU Northridge -- November 16, 2001

Northridge Decides to Discontinue Football

Closing a seven-week period of public comment and campus deliberation, Cal State Northridge President Jolene Koester announced today she has accepted an Athletics Department recommendation that the university discontinue its football program.

In a statement announcing the decision, President Koester said discontinuing football is the best way for the university's Athletics Department to avoid looming budget deficits that were headed toward $1 million a year. By ensuring the fiscal health of the entire athletics program, the president said Northridge will be better able to support its remaining 20 sports and ensure their success.

"I know that this decision will cause some disappointment and difficulty," Koester said. "However, I am confident that it is the best one for the athletics program and the University. Some will undoubtedly disagree, but I hope we can move forward in support of our student athletes as we compete successfully in the future." The president personally informed the coaches and players of the decision during an afternoon meeting, thanking them for their hard work and dedication.

This fall, Northridge Athletics Director Dick Dull recommended the university discontinue football because of the athletics program's budget deficits and football generating little revenue to offset its $1.3 million-a-year cost as the university's most expensive sport. A university advisory board on athletics, the Faculty Senate and two outside athletics experts later endorsed Dull's report.

Even without football next season, Northridge will continue to offer one of the broadest intercollegiate athletic programs among comparable universities. Northridge will continue to spend about $7 million a year on its athletics program, sponsoring 10 men's and 10 women's teams with more than 400 student-athletes competing at the NCAA Division I level.

Under the university's decision, current members of the football team who have athletic scholarships will have those continued for the duration of their NCAA eligibility, provided they remain in good academic standing at the university. For team members who may wish to transfer elsewhere, the university will offer placement assistance.

Cal State Northridge closed its 2001 football season last Saturday with a loss on the road to Portland State. This season's final 3-7 record means Northridge's ending football record overall will be 182-231-4.

Looking ahead, Koester said Northridge must work to strengthen its fundraising support for athletics, particularly for facilities. "This University can have a strong and successful athletics program as we move forward," she said. "Today's decision will better enable us to dedicate financial resources to the remaining sports at levels at which they can achieve the greatest measure of success."

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