North Iowa Area Community College officials announced today that the College’s football program, which has been in existence since the 1940s, will end following careful evaluation due to predicted extensive state funding cuts.
“NIACC football has a long and proud tradition in North Iowa, and this decision was made with a heavy heart,” Dr. Debra Derr, NIACC president, said. “In order to maintain healthy, quality programming in both athletics and academics as we face the financial challenges of the time, we made this decision in the best interest of the College and our students.”
Governor Culver’s budget recommendation for FY2010 calls for a 6.5 percent cut in funding for community colleges. That cut, on top of the 1.5 percent cut community college experienced from FY2009 funding, would translate to a cut of over $800,000 to NIACC’s general fund. Plus, more recent budget targets fall below even what the Governor has recommended. While hopes of some relief from federal dollars in the stimulus package for infrastructure and workforce training remain, most projections still call for a significant statewide cut in funding.
The annual operating cost for football (approximately $250,000 with a large portion of those expenditures coming from the College’s general fund where state general aid resides) compounded by budget reductions means that NIACC can no longer sustain the football program while continuing to maintain other strong athletic programs.
Another major factor in the decision to eliminate football was the evolution of the Midwest Football Conference to which NIACC belongs. As the conference has evolved, it’s not reflective of the College’s vision due to its geography; NIACC now must incur significant travel costs as well as playing schools with much larger enrollments.
“This marks the end of an era at NIACC, and we take great pride in the history of football at NIACC,” Dan Mason, NIACC athletic director, said. “But, we must place a primary focus on our goal of creating a strong environment in which our student athletes can succeed. As a result of careful consideration, it was determined that in order to meet the commitment of offering quality programs we had to make this difficult decision.”
NIACC will continue to look at providing athletic opportunities for students as those opportunities present themselves, and as part of that process the College will continue to consider costs, conference affiliations, gender equity and the National Junior College Athletic Association.
The 2008-2009 NIACC football coaches and players were notified by NIACC officials that the program will not continue next year. NIACC will work with all current football student-athletes to help them either further their education at NIACC or find another institution where they can pursue both their athletic and academic dreams.
For more information on NIACC Athletics, please visit www.niacc.edu/athletics.
North Iowa Area
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