Friday, January 23, 2004

Siena College Discontinues Football Program

Athletic Department Keeps Focus on 18 Division I Sports

Jan. 21, 2004

Siena College announced that it is discontinuing its non-scholarship Division I-AA football program.

The college will continue to sponsor 18 varsity athletic programs: 11 women's teams and seven men's teams. Siena now offers men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball, field hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, women's swimming, women's water polo, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's cross country.

The decision to discontinue varsity football was made after deliberations among athletic administrators, senior staff, the President and the Board of Trustees.

"Siena has embarked on many significant and strategic initiatives in recent years aimed at enhancing the quality of our students' experience," said President Kevin E. Mackin, O.F.M. Initiatives set forth in the College's current Strategic Plan include the expansion of College facilities, the implementation of a plan to raise the level of excellence achieved in and out of the classroom, and providing adequate compensation for faculty and staff.

"In light of the College's Strategic Plan, enhancing the football program is not in line with the Athletic Department's or the College's strategic direction," said John D'Argenio, Director of Athletics. "Our focus now is to accommodate the student athletes and coaches."

A process has been set up to assist any student-athlete who wishes to continue his playing career. Staff members have been identified to assist the students with any questions, coordinate details accompanying a transfer process and providing general academic advice.

Football accounted for some $200,000 of the Athletic Department's annual budget, including both internal and external funding. The money will be reallocated into other areas of athletics, e.g. coaching, athletic academic advising, sports medicine and general recreation.

"Our objective with the reallocation of funds will be to enhance services to our student-athletes and to the Siena community," D'Argenio stated.

The football team consisted of 69 student athletes who were freshman, sophomores or juniors. There are two full-time coaches and three part-time coaches affected by the decision. The College will honor the terms of the coaches' contracts.

Siena initiated its football program in 1965 as a club team. The club enjoyed competitive success, advancing to the club national championship game in 1985. Siena football was elevated to NCAA Division III status in 1988.

In 1993, after the NCAA Division III membership voted to exclude Division I schools from participating in Division III football, Siena became a charter member of the MAAC Football League. As a varsity program, Siena compiled a 31-101 won-loss record in 15 seasons. The program has over 700 letter winners, including 1998 graduate Reggie Green, who finished his career as the NCAA all-time leading rusher in I-AA and an Associated Press All-American.