Student athletes feel ‘tossed aside’ after Whittier College ends NCAA Division III sports program
Palo Alto Junior College student athletes feel ‘tossed aside’ after Whittier College ends NCAA Division III sports program
It’s a bittersweet moment for Palo Alto Junior College student-athletes. After being on the Whittier College campus for almost 20 years, their days of going on athletic programs across the country are over.
On Friday, Whittier decided to end its Division III athletics program after 24 years.
In a statement, Whittier Head Coach Mike Donofrio said, “As we’ve explored every option to extend to the next school the opportunity to continue our relationships with our student athletes, we think today’s decision is the right one.”
“The decision was tough to make, but we are committed to sustaining and deepening our relationships with these student athletes. We want to thank them for their support and dedication to the program,” Donofrio added.
The loss for the students marks the end of the 24-year period during which the school had student-athletes compete in Division III sports. To give students with the opportunity to play for Whittier, they had to take out their own student loans. Now that they’re done, there are the student loans to worry about.
“I wanted to compete and do everything I could to be at the best college in the country. It’s kind of a bummer at this time,” Stanford sophomore Arianne Mabrey said.
“I always enjoyed going to every single game in the past with my teammates. Now that we’re not here anymore, we’ll do what we can to continue to keep our program alive,” said Mabrey, who helped lead her team to the NCAA Division II state championship in 2013.
Mabrey credits her time with Whittier’s Division III program and its coaching staff for keeping her connected with her teammates.
“My teammates are still one of the greatest things that I’ve been exposed to at school,” she said.
Whittier athletic director John Bochelman said the decision to end the program is due to the “continued difficulty in attracting new students and the decline of public financial support.”
Bochelman added that the university had no choice but to make this decision.