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Earlham College suspends football program for 2019

The college administration held a team meeting Tuesday to tell players of the decision.

RICHMOND, Ind. (WTHR) - Earlham College just completed a fifth consecutive season without winning a football game. The Quakers NCAA Division III record losing stands at 53 straight games. The streak will end there for now.

Earlham has suspended its football program after another season of lopsided losses with a roster than hovered around 40 players. The Quakers will not take the field in 2019.

The college administration held a team meeting Tuesday to tell players of the decision.

"I would say most of us were pretty shocked,” said Cole Burrell, a junior cornerback from Arcanum, Ohio. “I don't think any of us really expected this measure."

"It took me a while to really like get it,” said Aaron Crichton, a sophomore offensive lineman from Los Angeles. “I came all the way from California to here to try to turn the program around and basically failed at that. It hurts."

"Some people might say this might kill Earlham football,” said Earlham College interim president Avis Stewart. “Well, in my eyes, Earlham football might be dead right now. How do you reawaken it?" Stewart has appointed The Football Review Committee to tackle the future of Quakers football. The plan is for the program to return in 2020 if funding is found outside the current college budget, a qualified coach is hired, and sufficient players can be recruited to field a competitive team. “We want to do football at Earlham from my perspective,” said Stewart. “But if we’re going to do it and you're going to have a program, I think that the program has to be good to great."

Outgoing football coach Nick Johnson is taking a paid sabbatical to care for his ailing wife and plans to return to Earlham April 1 in another position with student-athlete development in the athletics department.

"We are grateful that the program has hung on as long as it could for us,” said senior quarterback Joe Enright. “At least for me, I'm just disappointed for those younger than me."

The Earlham College Quakers last win on the football field came October 26, 2013, a 21-10 win at Anderson University.

The Football Review Committee begins meeting in January to decide the future of Earlham College football.

The committee will be chaired by Vince Punzo, a professor of psychology and one of Earlham’s faculty athletic representatives. Other members include:

* Ellie Bewley ‘69, Board of Trustees/Chair of the Board College Community Life Committee, former college athletics director

* Ian Henry ‘01, Board of Trustees/Chair of the Board Diversity Ad Hoc Committee, former football student-athlete

* Julie Kline, Earlham College, Senior Director of Athletics

* Lindsey McGee, Faculty Athletic Representative and Assistant Professor of Biology

* Chris Ragsdale, Former Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Commissioner (10 years) and long-time NCAA DIII Director of Athletics and Coach.

* Don Morel, Current Head Coach at Wabash College with more than 20 years of coaching experience at different levels

* Steve Specht ‘90, former football student-athlete and Head Football Coach at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati where he has won state championships and named NFL High School Coach of the Year

* Jerry Stauffer ‘62, former football student-athlete, former Head Football Coach at Indianapolis Warren Central High School, where he won two state championships

* Windel Stracener ‘86, Earlham Athletics Physician and former student-athlete, and

* Two current student-athlete leaders at Earlham College.