Whittier College announced that it is discontinuing its football team, men’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s golf.
“According to data from the Aspen Institute and the National Federation of State High School Associations, football is in decline across the United States. From 2008-09 to 2018-19, the total number of youth aged 6 to 18 playing tackle football fell by more than 620,000 participants from about 2.5 million to less than 1.9 million. Over the same decade, attendance at top-level college games declined by almost 10 percent,” said a Whittier statement. “Among higher education, Whittier is not alone in evaluating its football program. Over the past 30 years, 14 California four-year colleges, including [Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference] rivals Occidental and CalTech, have dropped football from their intercollegiate rosters. In addition, there is growing concern around contact sports–lacrosse and football—and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain trauma. When it comes to the health of our student-athletes, we must take this concern seriously.”
The announcement noted that “as a Division III school, financial aid awarded to student-athletes is not related to athletic participation. Therefore, this decision will have no impact on students’ financial aid packages.”
Students on the teams feel “tossed aside,” reported the Los Angeles Times.