St. Cloud State and University of Minnesota-Crookston eliminating football programs

ST. CLOUD, Minn., (AP) – St. Cloud State University in Minnesota plans to end its football and golf programs next year. The moves are aimed at complying with a Title IX court order and managing the school’s budget shortages.

The changes will affect about 115 student athletes, seven coaches and two graduate assistant coaches.

Men’s soccer will be added to keep it in compliance with NCAA rules. St. Cloud State has to comply with a federal court’s order in a Title IX lawsuit by balancing the opportunities and benefits it offers female and male students.

SCSU eliminated six athletic programs in 2016, which led to a lawsuit by athletes claiming the university violated Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in educational programs.

The University of Minnesota-Crookston is also eliminating its football program, citing costs. The northwestern Minnesota school says the recently completed 2019 season is the last as a varsity sport.

UMN-Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause says the decision to discontinue any program is “extremely difficult.” But the school says the football program has faced serious challenges from lack of funding.

Director of athletics Stephanie Helgeson says discontinuing the football program was “the right decision” for the long-term health of the Golden Eagle athletics department.