Following suspension of the football season due to safety concerns related to fielding a team with a decreasing roster, Ridgewater College has announced that it will terminate its football program.

The college will continue to offer three women’s sports – basketball, softball, and volleyball – as well as men’s baseball, basketball and wrestling.

“While our football program has a long history with a successful track record of performance on the field and positive impact on student-athletes participating in the team, the college has been increasingly challenged in recent years to attract and retain sufficient numbers of players who are positioned for success both on the field and in the classroom,” said President Craig Johnson. “We would need to significantly increase our resources and support services to ensure a successful and competitive program, including student housing on campus, and we are not in a financial position to do so.”

The college conducted an extensive analysis of the football program, including performing a review of data on program costs and academic performance and persistence of players over the past five years, as well as input from current and former players, college faculty and staff, community leaders and active supporters of the program.

The college plans to work with the student senate to explore ways to re-invest the nearly $70,000 in student life fee funds that are allocated for the football program to strengthen current student activities and develop new student life opportunities.

The college is committed to finding ways to strengthen and grow student activities on both the Hutchinson and Willmar campuses, including possible additions of more affordable team sports with broader appeal to the student population.

“This has been a difficult decision to make for our college,” commented Johnson. “We appreciate and value the commitment and passion that the players, coaches, staff and supporters in our community have shown for the Ridge-water football program over the years.”

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