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FCS program announces they're shutting down football program

Jacksonville University, a member of the FCS non-scholarship Pioneer League since 1998, has announced this morning that they will be discontinuing the football program.

Athletic director Alex Ricker-Gilbert shares that it was a tough decision, but it will allow them to reinvest resources into other program to enhance the student-athlete experience for all of their other 450 student-athletes.

Note the interesting closing sentence shared below in the school's statement justifying their decision.

"We took a comprehensive approach, examining how we invest across the entire department," said Ricker-Gilbert. "All options were on the table through this process and we made a commitment to hold off on any premature conclusions until we had a complete picture. Ultimately, one option stood out as the best path forward for Jacksonville Athletics as a whole. When you consider all that we commit to coaching, recruiting, advising, facilities, conditioning, nutrition, and academic counseling, it's clear the resources required to support our football program outweigh the benefits to the overall Athletics Department and the University."

The announcement adds that the school will give football players who decide to stay with the school full-tuition scholarships, and will also help those players that decide to look for opportunities to continue their playing career elsewhere.

The school is also honoring the employment agreements for the entire staff, and "offering enhanced resources to assist in their job search." That includes covering expenses to attend upcoming conferences and networking events.

With that decision by the university, the following staff members will on the market, looking for their next coaching job. Head coach Ian Sheilds was in his third year leading the program, and he previously was the head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne (D-II - NC) and has also worked on staffs at Army, Cal Poly, Eastern Oregon, Bucknell, and Oregon State.

Ian Shields

Head Coach

Tom Simi

Associate HC / OL

Alan Darlin

DC / LBs

Trent Steelman

OC /QBs / B-Backs

Steven Sylvester


Jake Copeland

Safeties / Recruiting Coordinator

Wade Green


Tony Carter


Denard Robinston

Offensive Analyst / ST

Jordan Todman

Defensive Analyst / ST

Rylan Wells

Graduate Assistant (WRs)

Griffin Garland

Graduate Assistant (OLBs)

Lofi Tamasese

Graduate Assistant (OL)

Andrew Bates

Head S&C

Head here to read the full release from the school.