will eliminate its football program following similar decisions at other junior colleges in the Midwest Football Conference.
Harper's decision was driven by the recent elimination of football teams at Joliet Junior College in Joliet and Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Mich., a press release from the college states.
“This is a painful decision,” Harper President Kenneth Ender stated. “Harper has had a long and proud football tradition. But with only one community college football team left in Illinois and four out-of state teams in the conference, it became clear we could no longer sustain the program.”
The remaining teams in the Midwest Football Conference are College of DuPage, Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, IA, Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, IA, Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, IA and North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, ND.
College officials said that aside from budget issues and scheduling difficulities, 90 percnet of Harper's football players came from outside the distirct.
“Many of these students are 18 and 19 years old living away from home for the first time and they’re trying to manage their housing, finances, academics and play football,” Ender stated in the press release. “The dynamic has contributed to low academic performance and a high dropout rate. That was also a factor in our decision.”