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          Release: 11/20/2008
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NEW ROCHELLE, NY - Iona College has announced that it will no longer sponsor its football program effective immediately.

"It is with a heavy heart and careful deliberations that we have come to this extremely difficult decision," said Director of Athletics Patrick Lyons.  “The dissolution of the MAAC Football League after the 2007 season and the lack of equitable opponents in Division I FCS football was the main factor in the decision.”

Iona College was a founding member of the MAAC Football League in 1993 and competed in the conference until it was disbanded after the 2007 season.  From 2002 until the present, six of its member programs chose to discontinue its football program (Canisius, Fairfield, La Salle, Saint Peter's, Siena, and St. John's).

"This decision was not a result of the program's performance on the field," said Lyons.  "The young men that competed in the past and present represented Iona College with pride and dedication in a way that all can admire. The football program - while a rewarding experience for its student-athletes - has reached a point where the current funding level creates a situation that would not position us for the best competitive experience for the student-athletes.”

After becoming a Division I FCS program in the 1993 season, Iona posted a 59-94 overall record in 15 seasons.   The Gaels earned MAAC Football League Championships in 1993 and 2007 and had one additional season with a record better than .500 in 2003.

“The decision was made within the best interests of Iona College as a whole and its athletic department,” said Iona College President Br. James A. Liguori, CFC.

A nine-member committee had extensive deliberations and research into all the available options for the football program.  It was decided that the best option was to disband the program.  The committee included the President and Athletics Director along with key faculty, student and administrative leaders.

The athletic department will reinvest football resources into its remaining 21 varsity athletic programs.  They will be used to continue to improve the department's athletic facilities as well as increase scholarship and operating budgets for its remaining programs.

“A comprehensive system has been put in place to support all football student-athletes in this difficult transition,” said Liguori.  “Assistance will be provided to all that elect to continue their athletic career at another institution or their academic careers at Iona College.”

Iona College is a private, co-educational institution of learning in the tradition of American Catholic higher education founded in 1940 by the Congregation of Christian Brothers. Iona offers undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous post-graduate certificate programs.

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