Football is dying. The signs are all there. Participation in youth football is declining, high schools are often having trouble fielding full teams, and smaller colleges are getting out of the business of the pigskin.
In west-central Minnesota, Willmar and Hutchinson’s Ridgewater College is the latest small school to give up on the program. There aren’t enough students, so it has canceled the season.
“The safety of our students, including our student-athletes, is our top concern,” Craig Johnson, president of Ridgewater College, said in a news release. “Given the reduced size of our roster, we are concerned about players being in unfamiliar positions as this could increase the risk of injury. We did not make this decision lightly, but feel that it is in the best interests of our student-athletes.”
The team began the season with 54 players but it’s down to 22 now.
Johnson cited several factors including students dropping out of the school, team suspensions, and “personal reasons.”
The college says it’s in the process of evaluating the future of the program.
The team finished the season 0-4.