November 19, 2007
La Salle Announces Discontinuation of Football Program
La Salle University has announced that it will discontinue its football program effective immediately.
“This was a very difficult decision, and I announce it with a real sense of disappointment,” stated Director of Athletics, Dr. Thomas Brennan. “La Salle instituted a non-scholarship football program in 1997 and subsequently joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Football League. However, the steady dissolution of the MAAC Football League and the changing landscape of collegiate football have negatively affected our program and led us to this decision. “
“It is important to note that this decision was not the result of the performance of our team, nor is it a reflection on the team and the young men who have competed for La Salle,” Brennan added. “We admire the dedication and manner with which our football players represented La Salle University. We are proud of the hard work these student athletes have exhibited on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. Their passion and dedication to La Salle football only makes this announcement that much more difficult to make.”
In a statement to the University community, La Salle President Br. Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C. said: “I assure you that we will do everything possible to help the coaches and student-athletes affected by this decision. They are valued members of the La Salle family.”
Football was brought back to La Salle in 1997 after a 56-year hiatus. Two years later, La Salle joined the MAAC Football League which consisted of 10 schools with similar academic and athletic profiles. Over the last eight years, Georgetown decided to change conferences, while Fairfield, Canisius, Siena, St. John’s, and St. Peter’s dropped their football programs.
Last spring Duquesne announced plans to compete at the limited scholarship level by joining the Northeast Conference effective with the 2008 season. This would leave only three remaining teams for 2008—Iona, Marist and La Salle, not enough for a league.
Brennan noted that the decision came after extensive deliberation and research into the available options. “Input was solicited from several constituent groups, and research was conducted on the different options, which included moving to scholarship football, remaining as an independent, or joining the Pioneer League. It was decided the best option was to discontinue the program.”
Brennan indicated that the timing of the decision was driven by the University’s desire to provide timely assistance to the student-athletes affected by the decision. “We are committed to giving them the very best opportunity to assess their options and help them make the best decisions for their futures.”
The Explorers compiled a record of 35-76 in the 10 years since the program returned. The team had back-to-back winning seasons of 7-4 and 5-4 in 2000 and 2001 under head coach Bill Manlove.