HSU to Discontinue Football Program After 2018 Season

Lumberjack football

[Photo from HSU Football’s webpage]

Press release from Humboldt State University:

Humboldt State University will discontinue its football program after the upcoming 2018 season. The move was announced earlier today, after coaches and players were informed.

[For more information, download FAQ’s]

President Lisa Rossbacher described it as an unfortunate, but necessary, step in addressing the University’s structural deficit and protecting HSU’s core academic mission.  She also emphasized her commitment to HSU’s Athletics Program remaining in Division II of the NCAA and said that the timing of the announcement would provide football student-athletes maximum opportunity to consider future options.

Discontinuing football will bring a conclusion to a program that began shortly after the University’s founding and which has enjoyed many successes. It has had standout stars and some players, most recently Alex Cappa, made the leap to the professional level. Games at the Redwood Bowl have been highlighted by a strong community atmosphere.

“Our football team has been an important source of pride for our students, staff, and alumni, as well as our regional community,” President Rossbacher said. “Sadly, and despite a tremendous fund drive effort, we found that football cannot be sustained through student fees and community giving. At the same time, the University cannot continue to subsidize budget deficits in Athletics without threatening our academic programs.”

The announcement was consistent with President Rossbacher’s decision last fall that the football program could only continue with significant private support.

A fund drive, led by a passionate group of boosters, showed some promise that the program could be funded through community support and additional University investment. A goal of $500,000 in “net new” private support by January of each year was established, with HSU committing to match. However, even with the timeline extended through June, the total amount collected was $329,000.

“I want to extend my sincerest thanks to members of the community who led the fund drive and everyone who offered their financial support,” President Rossbacher said. “I believe the fund drive demonstrates that this decision did not come quickly or lightly, as we considered many factors and evaluated various alternatives. Ultimately, we had to halt the growing budget deficits in Athletics and prevent these deficits from threatening our core academic mission, as well as preserving our Division II standing and conference affiliations.”

Coaches and players were informed shortly before the announcement was public.

HSU will honor scholarships for eligible players through the 2018-19 academic year, and coaches and staff will also help players contact other programs. At the end of the season, players will get a full release, which means they could choose to play at another institution. In most cases, they could choose to compete for HSU this year, and then transfer and compete for another institution next year.
The players are being offered academic and financial advising, and they will be able to utilize the tutoring and other support services offered through Intercollegiate Athletics for as long as they’re students at HSU.

“I trust the consultative and analytical process that President Rossbacher undertook in coming to this conclusion, and I fully support her in making this difficult but necessary choice,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy White.  “I understand the benefits that participating in athletics provides to our student athletes and unfortunately, while this outcome is fiscally prudent, it will be unpopular in some circles. As HSU president, she is tasked with making decisions that are in the best long-term interest of the core mission of the entire university, and this is one such decision.”

The decision to discontinue football was driven by budget challenges at the University level and deficits within the Athletics Department. HSU is in the midst of a two-year effort to reduce spending by $9 million and achieve a balanced budget by the 2020-21 academic year.

Within Athletics, football is the most expensive program, with a net cost of about $1 million. Last year, the University covered a deficit in Athletics that had reached $750,000, up from $250,000 three years ago. This is consistent with national trends. According to studies conducted by the NCAA, expenses in university athletics programs have grown more quickly than university-wide expenses overall. At HSU, the rate of cost increases in the Athletics Department has been roughly double that of the University.

In addition to football’s high net cost to the University, HSU is required to have 10 sports to remain eligible for NCAA Division II competition. To remain in the CCAA, HSU’s primary conference, the 10 sports are required to be chosen from a specified list, and football is not included on that list.

After football is discontinued, HSU’s athletics program will include 11 sports: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track & field, crew, softball, and volleyball.



  • Good

  • To many students living off government subsidies. When there isn’t enough private money coming in programs have to be cut. It’s a shame. Sign of the times I guess. Go socialism!

    • when I went to college it was $10,500 per year in 1987, this year it is $42,000 for the same. go capitalism. I was making $10/hr landscaping in 1987 and paid for college. what do landscapers get this year per hour? maybe $12/hr.

      • Never giving raises enhances shareholder value.

        • A good CEO maximizes the resources of his company. He is not a social worker or philanthropist. He will pay wages that are necessary for the company to function profitably. If he has no need to pay more, he would not retain his job if he did.

          On the other hand the government sets the boundaries inside which the CEO must function. Our government has had policies for decades that harm the value of labor. The people who elect the government have not cared much about policies that are damaging to labor. Complain about greedy capitalist until the cows come home. But the voters have set the direction and made the rules of the game, not capitalists who simply adjust their business practices to maximize the return under the government’s regulations.

          • Guest,
            I do not share your belief that CEO’s are victims of regulations. The larger the corporation the larger the lobbying power. Many corporations write the laws that regulate them. The Interstate Commerce Commission was designed by the railroads to defend their monopoly power and the EPA was designed by the chemical industry to “permit” their pollution and avoid strict legal liability for the murder, mutations and disabling effects of their products.
            I’ve worked for major corporations where breaking the law was part of the structure of the job. In one instance the corporation apologized after the Washington Post ran a first page banner photograph of a ship’s log that proved its’ illegal activity. The illegal acts I was personally instructed to commit seemed minor at the time. When I declined to commit a serious illegal act that had direct health effects on my community, another emplyee was instructed to falsify the log of the event.
            The pay was contingent on producing money and hiding the damage being done and that pay system was the responsibility of the CEO and those he directed.
            I don’t believe in unicorns any more than I believe in the fairy-tale of the benevolent, yet morally neutral corporation.

            • I did not say they were victims. I said that government sets the boundaries- the field of play that permitted- and the companies maximize their advantages using them. Whether they lobby or not, it’s within the government’s purview to make those rules, monitor their effectiveness and ensure compliance. Failing to restrain corporations at the cost of employees fits right in with that.

              Of course a company can be victimized by government the same as the government can victimize an individual. A company can be dishonest the same as an individual. Both will sail as close to the wind of regulation as they can, even if honest. In general I’m not talking about morality of those involved, which varies with companies as it does with individuals.

              I’m talking about the goals government has in making regulations. Either they create laws to encourage quality employment for its citizens or they don’t. We have been in a 40 year long drought where employment was not a goal of the government.

              • I agree that the corporatist Democratic Leadership Council elected officials and the Voodoo economics devotees of the Reagan-Bush cadre have driven policies that raise the profits of corporations while reducing the relative value of labor.
                All the while it is suggested that the real reason for decreasing wages is increasingly healthy air and water.
                Ever increasing returns to capital and ever decreasing relative wages are construed as good for “the economy.” As John Kennedy said “A rising tide raises all boats.” This is especially useful to those that own boats.
                I know few laboring folk who actively promoted the myth that paying labor well was bad for business. I know of few working folk who promoted the notion that we should only have a choice between corporate welfare without regulation and compassion and corporate welfare with regulation and ineffective compassion. I know more than a few who were convinced by all of the press, advertising and “think tank” drivel that said that these were our only choices.

                • If your last paragraph had a heading it might be:
                  “Useful Pawn Idiots For the Rich”.

          • No, it’s very wise. I’m sorry you don’t understand it.

            Now did that little spit fest enlighten the world…

      • $10/hr landscaping in 1987 was a phenomenal wage, FYI. As for college, wherever you went was overpriced. HSU cost around $5000/yr in 1998.

        The ease of getting student loans is a big problem. It attracts students who are just doing it because “it’s free,” rather than motivated people who are earning their way. This inflates costs, taxes services, and reduces the academic environment. Without the government-guaranteed student loans the costs would be back under $10k/year, which is what a state university should cost. The quality of education and campus environment would also dramatically improve. There will need to be a radical shift in how CSU are managed in the next few years, and this is just one step toward that.

        Football was cut because people in the local area did not attend or follow HSU football – simple as that.

  • I lived above a couple HSU football players recently and one routinely would get into verbal and physical altercations with his girlfriend. This occurred almost weekly for months. What a wonderful representative for his team -__-. It was horrible to listen to. Can not say I am sad to see entitled jocks here on scholarship with no respect for others go.

  • Hsu is a dying entity.

  • This must eliminate a Title 9 problem too, unless very few scholarship dollars have been going to football players.

    • There’s also the enrollment numbers component of Title IX. HSU has about 57% female students as of last year, and Title IX requires the athletic teams to reflect that number within a 5% margin. HSU athletics has quietly been noncompliant for a couple years at least.

      • Title IX requires equity in sports teams offerings and requires schools to respond appropriately to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence against students. It has nothing to do with enrollment percentages. This move definitely confirms compliance with athletics equity.

  • That is a bummer. I went to HSU starting in 1989. If they did not have a football team back then, I probably would have chosen a different university to attend. The college atmosphere around the football games made lil ‘Ol HSU seem like a real University, it was exciting and made me want to go to school there to be part of that. I still go to a couple HSU football games a year with my family. Next year I will be sad to not have that opportunity.

    I had a librarian living below me for a while and he would also get into loud verbal disagreements with his girlfriend. Damn entitled bookworms!

  • CSU sucks, HSU is being killed by the CSU structure, their desire to increase enrollment depends on taking the lower echelon high school students and transfers from CCs. They are limiting the number of classes and reducing lectures and it takes at least 5years to graduate if not more (think more student loan debt and why the big corporations may want that) and now no football, nursing, etc.. HSU president is responsible for the major issues the Lawson case has created too by getting herself caught up in it. She needs to be removed asap.

  • Nomoreracialdivide

    Another way to keep the blacks away

    • Whoa! Incoming stereotyping. Black people can do math as well as play football. And get quite good scholarships for doing it.

  • They are replacing the football team with a new hacky sack program. They will also be implementing a new flute choir to play at their tournaments.

  • I had a young cousin die behind TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury.) The more I learned about football, the less I liked it and eventually concluded it was too dangerous. NFL autopsies confirmed it.
    This is good news.

  • I graduated in 1969. Strange that with less than 50% of today’s enrollment and miniscule student fees, HSC had a fine football program. But back then, the administrative side consisted of a president, VP, 2 deans and a few directors. Now, it seems like there are more administrators than professors – and all at six figure salaries. A grocery that doubled its customers would add a few cashiers, not quintuple its managers and accountants!

    • I played freshman football for Humboldt back in 1963. It was a wonderful experience and I will never forget playing football against the inmates inside the walls at San Quentin. Football was more than a learning experience!!!

      • San Quentin…That was very progressive thinking in those days playing the inmates. I went there as a JV coach during my red-shirt year in ’73. What a trip! A guard came on board the travel bus and told us before disembarking that all sharp objects like pens or pencils, belts…anything…had to be left on the bus. I remember entering the prison with all the freshman players and the inmates were in the exercise quad cat-calling the players and telling them how much fun they were going to have with them once they got on the field. All of our players were out of their mind with fear. When we got to the lockers…it was as quiet as a church. When we got on the field, it hadn’t been mowed in almost three or four months. When you tried to practice kicking a field goal, grass covered half the ball when the holder put it on the tee. Then there was the torrential downpour of rain. We went down and scored right off the bat but when our fullback got tackled in the end zone, one of the players told him in the pile up that if he ever did that again, he’d never get out alive! We played to a 6 to 6 tie in the wackiest game I’ve ever been a part of. But, probably the most entertainment came from the sidelines…the cheerleader squad for the inmate team..led by a 400 pound transvestite…crazy times in the 1970’s

        • Thanks for your memories. I, too, lived through those post 1960’s seventies, just barely! Wish I knew about vaporization, then.

  • I understand why big schools that make money off of their college football teams, maintain programs, but why would a school support the program at a loss?

    • The same reason they would support art or music programs. The college experience should be more than just academics.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    So let football be self-funded like the Crabs,if the community turnout is that good,it should be easy and fun.
    It’s worth $12 occasionally,but not multiple scholarships.

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    If HSU had a brewery,it would be doing fine

  • fuckwalterwhite.com

    “According to studies conducted by the NCAA, expenses in university athletics programs have grown more quickly than university-wide expenses overall.”


    Are footballs and helmets more?
    I would guess insurance. That’s most people’s largest expense if you’re not blowing credit.

  • Good riddance. There’s no reason education needs to include competitively determining who’s best at manipulating random balls. Football is probably the worst, both due to the high rate of serious or permanent injuries, and how this violence seems to attract the dregs of society.

  • Football and “lumberjacks” don’t really fit the earthy anti-tree harvest Bernie-boy hippy theme of the North coast. Surprised they lasted this long.

  • Good news. Finally. Art department and Women’s Studies next on the chopping block? Here’s to keeping ones fingers crossed.

  • I call B.S. I’m all for shutting anything HSU related down but all they do is publicity stunts so I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Hey, I have an idea… they need housing so badly, and they are shutting down football, then convert redwood bowl into student housing! Win-Win!

    • fuckwalterwhite.com

      Or close the school and create housing for everyone. Some hall can be the rehab center. Fields can be gardens.
      Would Arcata benefit from a few thousand less people?

    • We tried to get the administration to let us use the Redwood Bowl for a big Springtime concert. “Can’t- it might mess up the football field.” We tried for years. A killer one day rock music event that would raise lots of $$. So maybe now is the time to try again? Too bad there is now so little money here…but some band w/ pull from out of the area should do us good….On a side note- just how much does the HSU President make again? It’s something astronomical isn’t it?

  • In 2011, the AD at the time told the entire coaching and support staff at a meeting that the department was $300,000 over budget the previous year and had been bailed out by the (now former) president’s “discretionary funds.” He then said that wasn’t going to happen again this year despite the fact that the department was again at least $300,000 over budget. He insisted that the coaches revoke all the scholarships of their current athletes to pay for it, which elicited an angry response. In the next few weeks the coaches agreed to a plan to instead ask basketball courtside ticketholders to renew their seating two years early to make up the difference. That happened, but the AD continued wasting money, mostly on himself. He’s long gone now with a fat retirement. He and others in charge at the time set up this mess. The current AD and president have certainly had a hand in it, but aren’t as culpable as their predecessors. In any event, this is tragic news. It has been coming for some time.

    • It’s good to hear real details instead of competing claims. Too many people either carry misty, idealized nostalgic memories of their college days, refusing to admit to any criticism, or have learned to hate the arrogance of higher education screwing up lives from the security of their guaranteed incomes and can’t believe any good of them.

      Universities have an unresolvable conflict between protecting academic thought and getting rid of bad baggage. There are strongly supported limitations on removing faculty for any reason, accompanied by extreme gamesmanship, which protects the good and bad equally. In a commercial, private business bad people would tend to be eliminated. In a State University, they retire after a career of damage.

  • What will all the 2.10 GPA pigskin-chuckers do -?

  • “In a commercial, private business bad people would tend to be eliminated. In a State University, they retire after a career of damage.”
    If what you so simplistically postulate were true, a right wing bass turd like Trump never gets so far. Maybe that’s the “tend to” part?

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