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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Dec. 3, 201903:42 PM EST

Jacksonville University president explains why school killed its football program

It was a business decision, says JU President Tim Cost.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The football program that started at Jacksonville University with the 1998 NCAA season was discontinued Tuesday morning.

“We saw this through a business lens,” said JU President Tim Cost on Tuesday afternoon.

Jacksonville University President Tim Cost

He said it was a difficult decision, but one that is in the best interest of the long-term future of the JU Athletics department and the university overall.

The college, over a period of about a year, conducted a data-driven analysis of its athletic programs and Cost gave much of the credit for the analysis to JU Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert.

“He’s an outstanding mind in athletics and in business,” Cost said.

The main factor in the decision was the investment required to sustain the sport at its highest collegiate division level and how making that investment would affect JU's nearly 500 student-athletes who play 19 sports besides football.

“We looked at what it was going to take to compete well in Division I, attract high-quality students that might not otherwise have a chance to play collegiate sports and make sure they have an opportunity to graduate,” Cost said.

“It came down to profit and loss and the balance sheet - the business of the university,” he said.

When the student-athletes were told Tuesday morning of the program's demise, Cost said they also were informed that the university will provide full tuition scholarships for all who wish to stay at JU until graduation, from freshmen to seniors.

The college also will provide assistance to the former players through what Cost called the “Care Team,” leaders from key departments at the university including Financial Aid, Academic Advising, the Registrar's Office, Athletics Support Services and Student Affairs.

In addition, JU is honoring the employment contracts for all football coaches as well as resources to assist them as they seek positions at other institutions.

The JU Dolphins recorded an all-time record of 118-155 on the gridiron (.494).

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