St. Francis Brooklyn eliminating athletics department


St. Francis College in New York announced Monday that it will cease its entire intercollegiate athletics program at the end of the current semester.

The college — often referred to as St. Francis Brooklyn to differentiate from a Northeast Conference counterpart, St. Francis (PA) — sponsored 21 Division I teams, 11 women’s and 10 men’s. It most recently introduced a women’s soccer team in 2019.

The college cited “plateauing enrollment” and the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic for its decision.

“The Board of Trustees recently approved a strategic realignment plan which includes the elimination of the College’s NCAA Division I athletics program, effective at the conclusion of the Spring 2023 semester,” Denis J. Salamone, chair of the board of trustees, wrote in a letter to the school community published Monday.

“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. 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 athletes presently attending St. Francis on an athletic or academic scholarship will have those awards honored.

The spring sports teams will finish out their season as normal.

“I am heartbroken that a decision has been made to eliminate the College’s athletics program, effective at the conclusion of the Spring 2023 semester,” athletic director Irma Garcia, a 1980 alumna of the college, said in a statement. “My heart hurts for our student-athletes, coaches and staff.

“I want to thank every student-athlete that has donned the Terrier Blue and Red over the many generations that have come to Brooklyn. Our student-athletes have been at the heart of our Department’s work and we will continue to support them to the best of our ability in the aftermath of the College’s decision.”

The Terriers’ men’s basketball season ended March 1 in a Northeast Conference tournament quarterfinal loss to Fairleigh Dickinson. The Terriers finished their final season 14-16 (7-9 NEC). The program never reached the NCAA Tournament.

The women’s basketball season went 11-19 (9-7) in its final season of competition. The program made its only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015 as a No. 16 seed.

Other programs St. Francis sponsored were women’s bowling, and men’s and women’s cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball and water polo.