St. Cloud State and Minnesota Crookston are both eliminating their football programs, both schools announced Tuesday, Dec. 10.
The Huskies and Golden Eagles are part of the 16-team Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in which Bemidji State is a member. The NSIC is an NCAA Division II league.
St. Cloud State announced it's eliminating football, men's and women's golf, while adding men's soccer for the 2020 academic year.
"We made this extremely difficult decision because St. Cloud State faces a convergence of circumstances that required us to change our athletics offerings," St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker said in a statement.
St. Cloud State made the athletic changes to "ensure Title IX compliance, and to address the financial sustainability and success of the university and its teams," the school release read.
Minnesota Crookston posted a release on its website about its decision to drop football.
“Discontinuing the football program was not an option we wanted to pursue, but as we worked through the process, it became evident that it was the right decision for the long-term health of our athletics department," said Minnesota Crookston athletic director Stephanie Helgeson.
St. Cloud State posted a 4-7 record in the NSIC last fall, playing in the conference's North Division. Minnesota Crookston went 0-11 last season, also playing in the North Division.
The league will shrink to 14 teams in football next season.
The NSIC had it written in its bylaws that institutions have to field a football team to be a member of the conference. The NSIC approved a change in its bylaws last week that football is no longer a requirement for league membership, according to a Minnesota State Moorhead official.
The NSIC bylaws state, a league member shall: "Sponsor a minimum of 10 conference championship sports at the Division II level, including football; or
"Sponsor a minimum of 11 conference championship sports at the Division II level, not including football."
For the current football players at St. Cloud State and Minnesota Crookston, the NSIC will be waiving the conference's interconference transfer restrictions, the league office said in a news release.
The release also stated: "The development of the 2020 NSIC Football schedule with 14 sponsoring teams is under development."
Bemidji State head football coach Brent Bolte posted this statement on Twitter: "Shocked and honestly disappointed by the news of two schools dropping their football program. Feel terrible for the players and coaches who put their heart and souls into it, to have it simply taken away."