Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hofstra Cancel Football Program

[I know I'm a few days late on this one. I've been slammed with 15 hour days of work. Making it hard for me to make quality posts.]

On Thursday, Hofstra University, home of the Pride, cancelled it's NCAA Division I (FCS, formerly the NCAA DI-AA) football program. As a "scholarship" school, Hofstra was considered a pretty big FCS school, with chatter about moving into the Big East circulating every few years.

The reason why I'm covering this story isn't because I'm from Long Island, or because I went to Hofstra briefly in the middle of the decade, it's because stories like this sometimes need to be made public so we can all see the bigger picture.

Hear me out.

Although Hofstra has had some success at the FCS level; sending the names Marques Colston, Wayne Chrebet, Raheem Morris, and Willie Colon to our vocabulary, by all means Hofstra was a program that everyone, including Hofstra students (I went there when Colston went there and outside of a few people, I don't know many people who went to a game), could care less about.

So the school, which was pumping millions of dollars into it's football program, and making nothing back on it's investment, decided to "pull the plug" on NCAA Football.

So why do I feel it's a good thing?

Because it comes the same week where Bobby Bowden got dismissed from Florida State after being the schools most notable name for decades. The same week that Pete Carroll and USC ran up the score on UCLA. The same week that Mark Mangino got fired for disgusting remarks to his players. The same week where Notre Dame opted to pay their head coach $18,000,000 not to coach, despite the fact that he graduated a record number of players.

Hofstra's decision to cut their Football program was purely academic. They realized that they weren't making a profit on that program (only 25% of all D1 college football programs create a profit) and decided to put the money into academics. Hofstra have a first tier law school, and a new medical school. The school plans on using their "football" money to reinvest in their academics in hopes of joining Notre Dame and UCLA not in the ranks of college athletics, but more importantly in the ranks of college academics.

Would I had loved to see Hofstra make the move to FBS Big East? Of course! It would have been a dream come true for me to have a "home town" college football team to pull for. Am I presently bummed that they've pulled the plug on their program? Yes, I am.

But do I see this in the bigger picture? Of course. I'd much rather see an academic institution invest it's money wisely, than watch it pour it down the drain like the 75% of college programs not profiting.

What this story should do is make us take a step back and realize that this is college football. A sport that has grown so big that we may be forcing kids lives backwards. In the FBS, only about 5 to 10% of the players go pro. Of that 5 to 10% only about 2% make a career out of football. In other words, there are thousands upon thousands of college football players in America, and only a couple hundred of them will make a career out of the sport. Yet the time these athletes devout to the sport absolutely dominates their schedule and prevents the student-athletes from being students.

College football is great, I love it. But let's not set people's lives backwards for it's sake.

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