The Jacksonville University Dolphins have called time on their footballing conquests, the university announced on Tuesday, December 3. The university has decided to discontinue its Division I program, effective immediately. Speaking after the announcement, Jacksonville University said that it spent more than a year evaluating its athletic department and exploring ways to position itself for long-term growth and success. However, shutting down its Division I program seemed like the best avenue after consultation with "experienced, independent consultants" who conducted a "data-driven evaluation" of the feasibility of investing in a Division I athletics program.
The Jacksonville Dolphins have played in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League since 1998. Interestingly, they finished the 2019 season 3-9 overall and 1-7 in conference action. Jacksonville University Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert said that shutting down the football program stood out as the best path forward for Jacksonville athletics as a whole. He continued by saying that after detailed research, it was clear that the resources required to support the football program at the university outweigh the benefits to the overall athletics department and the university itself.
NEWS | Jacksonville University Discontinues Footballhttps://t.co/ZgrYOoT3Mj— Jacksonville Dolphins (@JAX_Dolphins) December 3, 2019
Further proof of the Jacksonville University's decision to call time on their Division I program is the fact that they averaged 1,807 fans over six home games - the second-lowest attendance average in the league and the sixth-lowest in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). However, the university did provide some respite on the back of this major decision. Jacksonville University is offering full-tuition scholarships to every football player who chooses to stay at the school until graduation. The university also will honour the contracts of all football coaches and assist in their job searches after deciding to scrap the Dolphins' football program.