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St. Peter's drops football program due to trouble competing

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Saint Peter's College dropped its
non-scholarship Division I-AA football program Thursday, citing
concern for its athletes and difficulty remaining competitive.

"You have to feel for the kids," athletic director Bill Stein
said in a telephone interview from his office at the Jersey City
school. "It was a very tough decision, but it was the right
decision."

Stein informed coach Chris Taylor, the only full-time member on
the football staff, of the decision Thursday morning. Stein said
the school was in the process of relaying the decision to the 33
returning players and 14 incoming freshmen.

Taylor was not immediately available for comment.

Saint Peter's, 2-8 last season, has played football since 1971,
when the program was Division III. The program was suspended in
1984 and '88 for a lack of players. The Peacocks went Division I-AA
in 1993 when the NCAA passed legislation prohibiting Division I
programs from having sports below Division I. The Peacocks are
38-103 since the move.

Stein cited the demise of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
football league, recruiting problems and scheduling difficulties as
the main reasons for deciding to end the program.

"I have a responsibility for the health, safety and well being
of our student-athletes," Stein said.

The MAAC football league was vibrant in the early '90s, but
Fairfield, Siena and Canisius stopped fielding teams and St.
John's, Georgetown and Duquesne have either left the league or are
leaving next year.

Saint Peter's also had trouble scheduling games because it does
not have an on-campus field. It plays its home games at Cochrane
Stadium, a facility owned by Jersey City. The city only allowed St.
Peter's to play on Thursday and Saturday nights, so it was hard to
schedule games, Peacocks spokesman Dan Drutz said.

Stein said it cost about $400,000 to run the football program.
The money will now be used to enhance the other 19 sports the
college sponsors.