Jacksonville University discontinues football program after athletic department evaluation

USATSI

In a surprising move on Tuesday, Jacksonville University announced "major changes to its Division I Athletics program" which included the discontinuing of its football program. The decision, according to the university, took more than a year featuring "experienced, independent consultants" who conducted a "data-driven evaluation" of the feasibility of investing in a Division I athletics program. 

"As a University, we are investing and innovating to match our offerings to the 21st century marketplace and to support the diverse demands and interests of our students," said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost in a statement. "This investment profile requires careful analysis, realistic planning and – occasionally – difficult decisions to help drive us forward to excellence."

"This was a difficult decision," said Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert. "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."

As part of the shutting down process, Jacksonville is offering full scholarships to every football player who chooses to stay at the university until graduation. Additionally, the school will honor the employment agreements for all football coaches and offer additional resources to assist in their job search.

The Dolphins finished 3-9 this past season with a 1-7 record in the Pioneer League. The program's first season came in 1998 with the most successful stint coming between 2007 and 2015 under current South Florida offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell. Jacksonville went 66-35 under Bell and won two conference titles. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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