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Canisius College to Add Men's Swimming, Will Drop 7 Other Sports -- November 1, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 1. CITING competitive and economic concerns, Canisius College announced yesterday that it is eliminating its Division I-AA football program along with six other sports at the end of the current academic year, according to the Associated Press.

At the same time, the school will be adding men's swimming and diving.

Also being cut are men's and women's indoor and outdoor track, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's rifle. The moves leave Canisiuss with 16 Division I sports.

"There is never a convenient time to make such a move," athletic director Tim Dillon said, "but we felt that with all the positive developments at Canisius, it is now time to build our athletic program into a consistently competitive, high-quality Division I program in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference."

Dillon said that catering to the needs of 23 Division I teams had taken a toll on all involved.

"It has been a challenge to balance all of the competing demands as we attempted to spread limited resources across a very broad program," he said.

Approximately $500,000 will be saved immediately, and that will be redirected into the remaining sports next season, said Dr. Ellen Conley, vice president for student affairs. The school has yet to determine how the money will be distributed.

Canisius president Rev. Vincent M. Cooke acknowledged the poor performance of the school's football team, but said it had very little to do with it being eliminated.

"It is no secret to anyone that we have had very little success with that program over the past several years," Cooke said. "We are acutely aware of the college's rich tradition in football, and making the decision to eliminate this program was not made lightly."

The Canisius football team is in seventh place in the 8-team MAAC this year with a 2-6 record. The Golden Griffins were 1-9 in 2001, with the lone victory snapping a 24-game losing streak.

Dillon cited the financial losses the college incurred from its football program as a major reason for the decision. In fact, football, a so-called "revenue sport," is a financial loser at the vast majority of colleges and universities in the U.S.