One of the smallest NCAA Division I schools in the nation with an enrollment of 2,372, St. Francis College of Brooklyn (SFC) will eliminate its 21-sport athletic department at the conclusion of the 2023 spring semester.
This was not North Carolina UCLA or even Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania making the announcement. Rather, it was SFC, a small, mostly commuter college that has been a fixture in the heart of downtown Brooklyn for well over a century.
SFC is a venue where a parking spot is worth much more than any game ticket to see the men’s basketball team square off against fellow Northeast Conference (NEC) rivals like FDU. Basketball is the city game found in the playgrounds, CYO and PAL gyms not in office buildings, upscale condos, or in a local commuter college that no longer boasts its own gym.
The majority of collegiate athletic departments are a money pit and are their own fiefdoms where the ubiquitous term “student athlete” is a time-honored oxymoron.
Basketball has always been a ticket out of the urban wilderness and the team’s roster reflected this. Of the 15 SFC players, only five were from the city. New York’s asphalt talent is renowned for making a hasty exit out of dodge to showcase their wares – nationwide.
In order to make NCAA history, FDU first had to defeat a solid SFC squad in the NEC basketball tournament. SFC finished their 2023 regular season campaign as a third seed in the nine-team conference. Despite the success and being the oldest men’s basketball program in the city dating back to 1896 and a charter member of the NCAA and NEC, it was not enough to save the program or the athletic dept.
SFC Director of Athletics Irma Garcia laid blame on COVID-19 that “left an indelible impact.” A press release added: “There are challenges facing higher education institutions, particularly smaller liberal arts colleges in the Northeast, from which SFC is not immune… increased operating expenses, flattening revenue streams, and plateauing enrollment due in part to a shrinking pool of high school graduates in the aftermath of the pandemic.”
When SFC recently moved from its longtime home on Remsen Street to a smaller facility on Livingston Street, my uncle and cousin both alumni agreed, “it was the beginning of the end” and they weren’t talking solely about the athletic department. The announcement that SFC president Miguel Martinez-Saenz was granted leave has left many questioning rumors about mismanagement. There have been rumblings about petitioning the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District for an inquiry, but it seems they are too busy consumed with all things Trump.
Society would be better served if fewer university’s offered big time athletics and return to their core mission while capitulating all their victimology study programs that is nothing but woke Marxism.
The majority of collegiate athletic departments are a money pit and are their own fiefdoms where the ubiquitous term “student athlete” is a time-honored oxymoron. With name, image and likeness (NIL) in full force, athletes receive compensation as attorneys negotiate NIL deals within the transfer portal that has turned recruiting and rosters into a constant state of flux. Why continue to bleed money? Consider the costs of coaches, scholarships, stadiums, training facilities, travel, etc. Without considerable funding, how do you compete?
College sports that seemingly undermine a university’s core commitments to truth, discovery, and free inquiry is nothing new. This is the true March madness metastasizing throughout academia. Society would be better served if fewer university’s offered big time athletics and return to their core mission while capitulating all their victimology study programs that is nothing but woke Marxism.
Instead, become the best academic institution you can be rather than a de facto league for professional sports. Few become pro athletes while many leave as the same functional illiterates as when they arrived. The time has come to end the student-athlete charade.
The NCAA is anything but a non-profit.
If closing out the athletic department is about upholding SFC’s longstanding Franciscan paradigm of providing a high quality, economical education that fosters the college’s motto of “an inclusive learning community and a lifelong path to virtue, truth, and compassion,” it is an excellent move that will pay much in future dividends.
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