/notables/2000/swarthmore-drops-football

Swarthmore board refuses to reconsider

More news about: Swarthmore
Freshman football player Tim Lang holds a candle at a rally organized by his team.
Photo by Claire Weiss, The Phoenix

The much-anticipated Jan. 4 meeting by the Swarthmore Board of Managers resulted in the same decision – football, badminton and wrestling will be dropped at Swarthmore College.

After 120 seasons, Swarthmore football is no more.

Swarthmore College's Board of Managers announced Dec. 2 the school was dropping football effective immediately, following the program's best season since 1995. The Garnet went 4-5 in 2000 after going 1-8 in 1999 and winless the three previous seasons. Head coach Pete Alvanos talked with Pat Cummings about the decision on our Stagg Bowl halftime show.

"There is a feeling on the part of the board that only 15% of the student body should be athletes," team captain Scott Murray told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Alvanos, who recently completed his third season as head coach, said, "at Princeton, for example, 17% of the freshman class is recruited athletes.

Swarthmore's lasts
Game:
at Washington & Lee, Nov. 11, W 16-6
Play: took a knee to end game
Rush: Ken Clark 3-yard run, 1:06 left
Interception: Donovan Godley, 1:13 left
Tackle: Kevin Perry, 1:20 left
Score: Robert Castellucci 23-yard FG, 5:02
Touchdown: Clark 2-yard run, 12:01
"When I took the job, I was told there was a commitment on behalf of the college to turn the program around," said Alvanos. Swarthmore currently has 30% of its students participating in intercollegiate athletics, but it is unclear what percentage are recruited to the athletic program. Wrestling and women's badminton were also cut at the suburban Philadelphia school.

"It hurts, real bad," Alvanos told students at a rally the night of the decision. "You uproot your family, your wife and three kids, and assistant coaches uproot their wives and kids, and you look freshmen and high school seniors in the eyes and tell them that the college is behind you, that there's 100% commitment to turn the program around and do the things the right way. And we've done that, everything that (college president) Al Bloom has asked us to do."

The move reduces the Centennial Conference to seven football-playing schools, but leaves the conference eligible for an automatic bid. Swarthmore had played longtime rival Washington & Lee and Oberlin in non-conference action. It also reduces the chances Division III could get to 29 playoff teams for the 2001 season.
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