The coronavirus (COVID-19) has certainly made an impact on many these days, including higher education institutions like Florida Institute of Technology, which announced earlier today that it would be cutting its football program.
In addition to cutting a football program, which played its first-ever varsity contest on September 8, 2013, the school announced staff reductions and furloughs, along with the closure of the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts, according to this morning’s release, which can be seen on the school’s athletic website.
“Indeed, all of higher education is struggling to deal with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uncertainty that accompanies a global disruption to daily life,” Dwayne McCay, the school’s president, wrote in a letter to the Florida Tech community. “Some universities will no doubt close. Florida Tech, however, has plans to persevere.”
The Panthers’ football program stared in 2011 and competed in the Gulf South Conference (Division II). 120 student-athletes competed for the program, which concluded its 2019 campaign with a 5-6 overall record.
Florida Tech posted additional information about canceling its program, which was due to “a number of factors, based primarily on financial concerns, were carefully considered before the final decision was made.” The school does not plan on cutting additional sports teams as of this evening.
Eight coaches were affected by today’s news, but the school plans to assist each individual that is interested in pursuing the opportunity to compete or study at other institutions.
Florida Tech is not the only school to cut an athletic program as Florida International University won’t have a men’s indoor track and field team this upcoming school year while Old Dominion eliminated its wrestling program. Additionally, the University of Cincinnati announced last month that they dropped its soccer program, which began competing in 1973.