B.C.’s Simon Fraser University announced Tuesday it is ending the varsity football program, effective immediately.
“Given Simon Fraser University’s long and proud football history, this is a difficult decision, and not one taken lightly,” SFU president Joy Johnson said in a release. “I want to thank all the student-athletes and coaches, past and present, for being part of that history. However, the football landscape has changed significantly in recent years and we no longer believe we are providing an exceptional experience for student-athletes.”
In a media release, the organization said only two other football programs remained in Division II west of Colorado.
In 2021, SFU joined the Lone Star Conference in the southwestern United States with a two-year agreement so that the team could still compete.
However, the university said the conference opted not to renew its agreement with SFU this past January.
Therefore, provost and vice-president academic pro tem Wade Parkhouse said the team does not have a conference to play in for 2024.
“The ongoing uncertainty creates an unacceptable experience for students. As a leadership team, we concluded that football is no longer a feasible sport for SFU,” he said in a statement.
In a statement on its website, the BC Lions said it was “deeply saddened and disappointed” to see the news of the program shutting down.
“Today’s news impacts several dedicated individuals, in particular the student-athletes, coaches, staff, countless volunteers, parents and, of course, alumni, who tirelessly dedicated themselves to the SFU program,” the BC Lions said.
“The long and rich history included a very proud chapter that highlights its bond with our team and league. Lui Passaglia, Rick Klassen, Nick Hebeler, Glen Jackson, Sean Millington and Angus Reid are just a few of the greats who came through SFU, building a tradition that continues today with current Lions Michael Couture and Jordan Herdman-Reed. The BC Lions will continue to do everything we can to support amateur football at all levels in this province.”
The university said it is making this decision now so that students may make other plans for their athletic careers if they choose to.