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Occidental College Discontinues Football Team

October 15, 2020

Occidental College, a liberal arts college in Los Angeles, will discontinue its football program due to ongoing funding and recruitment problems and financial pressures created by the coronavirus pandemic, college officials announced this week.

The college has 20 other men’s and women’s varsity sports teams that compete within the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, or SCIAC, and Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. But Occidental's football program has historically struggled due to a limited roster and funding, even before the pandemic, a press release from the college said. The team placed last in the SCIAC in 2019 and did not win a game that year, according to the conference website.

The college had to cancel the final four games of the 2017 football season due to player injuries, and it has weighed discontinuing the team ever since, the press release said. Team operations have been sustained by donations from football alumni and parents of current players over the last two years but continuing would require “a significant sustained financial investment from the College … to maintain a safe and competitive football program” despite already taking up 20 percent of all expenses towards athletics, President Harry Elam Jr. said in the press release.

“We want to offer the best possible experience for our student-athletes, and the College has determined that to do so for football would require a level of investment that is not sustainable, especially relative to other priorities and following the impact of the pandemic,” Elam said.

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