Paine College suspends football program

Paine College has suspended its football program for two years while the institution tries to repair its finances.

The historically black college in Augusta recently announced the self-imposed suspension after a vote by Paine’s board of trustees.

“At this critical juncture in the history of Paine College, we have no choice but to firmly re-establish the financial health of our college,” interim president Samuel Sullivan said in a statement. “It is only through achieving this condition that we will have a chance of being removed from probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and winning reaffirmation of the college’s accreditation.”

Paine was placed on probation last summer by SACSCOC, a regional accrediting agency for not complying with financial requirements and issues related to the campus environment.

Paine’s infant football program’s was short-lived. The college’s board of trustees revived the football program in 2012 after a 50-year hiatus. The college played a limited club football schedule in 2013 before rolling out a full program during the 2014 fall semester. Paine ended the 2014 season with a 2-8 record.

Despite community support, the cost to operate the program has placed enormous financial strain on the college’s operating budget, said Sullivan’s statement.

Paine will honor scholarships for its eligible players during the spring 2015 semester, and help student athletes who want to transfer to other institutions. The college will continue to support five men’s and women’s sports.

Last month the University of Alabama at Birmingham cancelled its football program, which the president said was financially unsustainable.

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