If you’re a fan of JU Dolphins’ football, boy, do we have some rough news for you.
Jacksonville University announced earlier today that, as a result of “data-driven analysis,” it has decided to discontinue its Division I football program effective, effective immediately.
The surprising move comes after the university’s athletics department conducted an evaluation of its Division I athletics investments and, with input from independent consultants and its own Board of Trustees, decided that in order for the school’s athletics programs to excel, it would have to shed its football program.
All current players are being offered full academic scholarships – or resources to aide in their transfer to another program. Coaching staff contracts will be honored, and staff members will be aided in their transitions to other programs as well.
“This was a difficult decision,” said Alex Ricker-Gilbert, JU’s athletic director. “Our student-athletes and coaches in the football program are talented, tenacious and hard-working. We respect them immensely. Reinvesting these resources into our other Division I programs better positions us to enhance the experience for all 450 student-athletes.”
The university has refocused its financial efforts into other athletics programs. It recently upgraded its lacrosse and baseball facilities, and a new basketball training facility is also in the works.
The Dolphins’ Division I football program began in 1998, playing as a non-conference team before joining the Pioneer Football League conference in 2001.
It finishes with an all-time record of 92-87, with two conference titles and two interconference divisional titles. It produced a handful of professional players, most notably Micah Ross, who was the first Dolphin to make it to the NFL and played for the Jaguars, Chargers, and Panthers during his career.