St. Francis (Brooklyn) to drop the NCAA DI athletic program

NEW YORK — St. Francis College, one of the NCAA’s smallest Division I schools, announced Monday that its board of trustees has approved a plan to cancel its athletic program at the end of the spring semester.

Saint Francis sponsors 21 NCAA teams, including men’s and women’s basketball, and has been a member of the Northeastern Conference for more than four decades.

The move comes as part of a larger restructuring of the Catholic private school located in Brooklyn. The school has an enrollment of about 2,300 undergraduate students.

“There are challenges facing institutions of higher education, particularly the smaller liberal arts colleges in the Northeast, from which the SFC is not immune,” the school said in a press release. “Among these challenges are increasing operating expenses, leveling revenue streams, and an enrollment plateau due in part to a shrinking high school graduating pool in the wake of the pandemic.”

The Northeastern Conference is also the home of Fairleigh Dickinson, the small school located in Teaneck, New Jersey, that pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this past weekend.

FDU became the second No. 16-ranked team in the field to defeat a No. 1 seed when the Knights beat Purdue on Friday. FDU lost to Florida Atlantic University on Sunday in the second round of the tournament.

“The week that has been a rallying cry for the entire Northeast Conference, today comes a bittersweet day,” NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris said in a statement. “As an integral member of the NEC, St. Francis College is tightly woven into the fabric of this conference. We are saddened to lose them as an integral member of the NEC community.”

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St. Francis also announced that its board has granted school president Miguel Martinez Sainz a request for personal leave and appointed COO Tim Cesser as acting president, effective immediately.

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