Budget cuts are an unfortunate reality of life both at Fairfield University and everywhere else. So many valuable programs are funded through this university, and when the economy goes sour, deciding where to trim spending is always a difficult decision.

According to Athletics Director Eugene Doris, Fairfield University’s football team, which has enjoyed a short but sweet seven-year history, including one MAAC championship, may be a casualty of a tighter budget for next year.

Although at press time the fate of the program is unknown, readers are encouraged to visit www.fairfieldmirror.com this afternoon to get the latest news on the state of the football team.

Yet, whether the team stays or whether it goes, the administration needs to recognize that perhaps poor foresight and a lack of commitment brought the program to where it stands today: important enough to receive $170,747 (in 2001), yet not important enough to be protected from elimination.

Excluding the recent successes of the men’s basketball team, turnout at most Fairfield athletic events is usually low. However, after basketball, the football team generally pulled in a respectable amount of fans, at least by Fairfield standards. Furthermore, if there were not a football game, would Alumni Weekend be so widely attended?

The real losers in this budget crunch, however, are not the fans, but the players. Even if the program stays, what kind of message does that send to a current freshman that chose to come to Fairfield to play football? Furthermore, the current lack of funding combined with the recent departure of coach Joe Bernard will do irreparable harm to the team’s ability to recruit and convince future players that Fairfield is where they should spend the next 4 years.

Whether the program goes or whether it stays, one cannot help but feel a great deal of sympathy for any football player currently attending the university. Some will probably transfer as a result of the whole dilemma, and their last memory of Fairfield University will no doubt harm the growing reputation officials have worked so hard to build.

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