Bye Bye Football, Track and Swimming

The St. John’s Athletic Department will officially announce the termination of four athletic programs at a press conference on Dec. 13.

Football, men’s and women’s swimming and men’s track are the four sports that will no longer compete at the intercollegiate level, with the cost of teams, the facilities and Title IX as the main factors.

The members of the teams were informed of the decision Thursday night as they met with members of the Athletic Department.

Each team met with Vice President for Development and Athletics Dave Wegrzyn and Associate Vice President for Athletics Kathy Meehan in separate meetings in the Little Theater.

This came after members of the football and women’s swimming teams already found out that their squads were going to be cut.

Football and men’s track, which consists of the indoor, outdoor and cross-country teams, will be finished at the end of the 2002-03 academic year, while both swim teams will be able to compete until the end of the 2003-04 season.

This comes during a semester when the department added a sport – women’s golf – and will add men’s lacrosse in two years.

If the athletes decide to stay at St. John’s, they will retain their scholarships for the remainder of their time at the University. If they decide to transfer, they will not have to sit out a season, which is the normal process for a transfer athlete.

The original announcement was going to be made next week after the University’s exam period had ended on Dec. 18, but word leaked to both parents and athletes alike, causing the announcement to come earlier than expected.

This is the second time that the football program has been ended. The first time came in 1931, and the program was disbanded until 1978, when current Head Coach Bob Ricca took control.

At the 2002 Big East Swimming Championships, both teams combined to break 11 school records. The men’s team finished fifth, while the women took 11th overall.

In 2001, the men’s squad was the Big East runner-up.

The football team has already finished competing, ending with a 2-8 record in late November. Both swimming teams and men’s track are in the middle of their seasons.

The last time St. John’s removed a team was in 1994, when the lacrosse team ceased to exist.