The Rundown

The St. John’s football team walked off the field in defeat on Nov. 16, 2002. They lost 45-41 to finish their season with a record of 2-8. What they didn’t yet know was that it would be the last time the Storm would field the team.

With St. John’s first homecoming in seven years, the issue of the absent football team has resurfaced. Students are questioning why we don’t have one and there are all kinds of explanations being thrown around, from not having the money to football not bringing in enough revenue to something about NCAA regulations and to simply: they were not good anyway.
It’s even become something of a joke to some students (see: “St. John’s Football – Undefeated Since 2002” group on Facebook). But what’s the real reason – why does a school so prideful in athletics not have a football program?

Well, before you rally up and demand one, there are some logical and practical reasons why its absence is a good thing.
Firstly, there’s the case of Title IX, a federal law that guarantees females the same rights in collegiate athletics as males. It’s what led to the elimination of football (as well as track, cross country, and swimming). But, more importantly, it’s beneficial for the fans.

Consider this package deal: a mediocre-to-poor athletics program as a whole (including a football team) or a program with excellent teams in baseball, volleyball, basketball and others without a football team. Ask most any Red Storm fan and they would choose the latter.

There’s only so much funding to go around and without a football team, all the other teams benefit.

Athletics director Chris Monasch feels the same way. “It’s expensive to carry a football team,” he said.

He added: “[Not having a football team is] benefiting the other programs. We want to focus on the sports we’re most interested in. I think it puts us in the best way to make a quality program [overall.]”

It’s unfortunate that our program doesn’t have room for a good football team. It’s a sacrifice to both the fans and to the people that made the team possible when it existed.

“This is something I never imagined would happen,” former head coach Bob Ricca told the New York Daily News in 2002.
He met with all of his 62 players after the announcement. “They were devasted,” he said.

Certainly there was disappointment. Monasch understands that. “You prefer not to discontinue opportunities but there’s a lot of sports available [and] we’d rather have quality opportunities.”
Don’t have dreams of grandeur. If we still had a team, they certainly would not be competing with USC and Notre Dame.

We’d be lucky to have a winning record.

As for homecoming, we have good soccer teams that should be celebrated. Football would probably be more appropriate but the advantages are still outweighed by the disadvantages. And besides, everyone prefers to celebrate a winning team.

“Fans, by nature, are more interested in rooting for teams that are successful,” Monasch said.
And the best way to have that, unfortunately, is to not have football.