dot generic football generic.JPG

Florida’s Jacksonville University is dropping its football program after 22 years.

JU went 3-9 and 2-8 in its final two seasons under coach Ian Shields.

According to reports, the school is offering full tuition scholarships to every underclass football player who elects to stay at JU until graduation. The school will honor the employment contracts for Shields and his staff and offer “enhanced resources” to assist in their job search.

In a statement, the university said it made the decision “with input from experienced, independent consultants ... after a data-driven evaluation of Division I intercollegiate athletics.”

As a university, we are investing and innovating to match our offerings to the 21st century marketplace and to support the diverse demands and interests of our students,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost in a statement. “This investment profile requires careful analysis, realistic planning and – occasionally – difficult decisions to help drive us forward to excellence.”

“This was a difficult decision,” said Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert in another statement. “Our student-athletes and coaches in the football program are talented, tenacious and hard working. We respect them immensely. Reinvesting these resources into our other Division I programs better positions us to enhance the experience for all 450 student-athletes.”

For more than a year, the University explored a variety of options designed to strengthen the entire Athletics Department and position the program for long-term growth and success.

“We took a comprehensive approach, examining how we invest across the entire department,” said Ricker-Gilbert. “All options were on the table through this process and we made a commitment to hold off on any premature conclusions until we had a complete picture. Ultimately, one option stood out as the best path forward for Jacksonville Athletics as a whole. When you consider all that we commit to coaching, recruiting, advising, facilities, conditioning, nutrition, and academic counseling, it’s clear the resources required to support our football program outweigh the benefits to the overall Athletics Department and the University.”

“Our commitment to each football player and coach will continue beyond today.” said Ricker-Gilbert. “We understand some of these student-athletes will look for opportunities to play football at other schools, and we respect that decision. If our students choose to stay here -- and we hope many of them do -- they will receive full tuition scholarships.”

The University said the final decision was supported by the chairman of the Jacksonville University Board of Trustees and the leadership of the Board’s Student and Athletic Affairs Committee.

Subscribe to Daily Headlines

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

Load comments