Menlo College officials announced on Sunday that their football program is ending after a careful and thorough evaluation of the economic and geographical realities related to sponsoring a small college football program. Menlo College, which competed as a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) independent, was the only member of the NAIA that sponsored a football program within the state of California, and one of just four NAIA programs within a 700 mile radius of the Menlo College campus in Atherton.
"This decision was not one made lightly, knowing full well the deep consequences it has on our student-athletes, their hardworking coaches and staff, and our dedicated supporters and alumni," said Menlo College President Dr. Richard A. Moran. "The Board of Trustees considered the issue carefully, but ultimately decided that the closure of football was in the best long-term interests of the college."
"The extent of our athletic program successes is noteworthy given that our programs have been stretched so thin in recent years," said Menlo College Director of Athletics Keith Spataro. "This difficult decision reflects a strong commitment to the future athletic program needs and the stability of our entire student population. Menlo College has struggled for years over the football program's financial viability, mirroring a national trend that has seen the closure of many college programs in the last decade. The cost, and the inequity of the expense of football compared to their 12 other athletic programs were major contributing factors to this decision."
"This decision allows us to direct more resources to make our other sports stronger," added Spataro. "It will also benefit the College more broadly, as it allows for more funds and energy to be directed towards academics."
Players and coaches were recently notified by College officials that the program has ended. All current student-athletes will be allowed to retain their scholarships if they choose to remain at Menlo College, and those with remaining eligibility choosing to transfer will be eligible to play immediately. All coaching staff salaries will be honored through the 2014-15 academic year.
Menlo College has been the only non-NCAA Division I institution sponsoring football in the Bay Area since 2004. Menlo College will continue to sponsor 12 varsity athletic programs and ensure that members of the football team are offered a roster spot on other Menlo College teams where their skills and interests align. The College emphasized that they are committed to fully supporting those affected by this decision while they determine the best decision for the future.
The college has issued an FAQ document to provide additional information to the community at www.menlo.edu/football-faq.