The Board of Trustees at the Lindenwood-Belleville (NAIA - IL) campus have decided that at the conclusion of the spring semester in 2020, all traditional undergraduate programs at the campus will be cut and combined with the St. Charles, Missouri campus - which is located about 40 minutes away.
That means the NAIA sports programs at the school, including football, will also be eliminated at that time.
“This decision comes after careful consideration by our Board of Trustees to serve the long-term interests of our students, faculty, and staff,” J. Michael Conoyer, M.D., chairman of the Lindenwood University Board of Trustees shared in a release from the school. “We believe this plan will best position our students and Lindenwood for the future, and we will work with our students and staff to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.”
Lindenlink, the online student publication for the Lindenwood, notes that the Belleville campus had been operation at a $2.5 million deficit the last few years, and the facilities were growing outdated and in need of about $25 million in improvements.
As for the football program, who promoted defensive coordinator Pat Stewart to the head coaching role back in mid-November after he led the team on an interim basis through part of the 2018 campaign, this season will mark their final season and many players will look to transfer mid-year. Lindenwood-Belleville notes in their FAQ's section that choices for student athletes include opportunities to try out and compete for a spot on the Lindenwood-St Charles (D-II - MO) team, and transfer immediately to another school with no restrictions from Lindenwood-Belleville.
Lindenwood-Belleville has committed to honor all athletic scholarships and financial aid packages whether the student-athletes compete in a sport at not for both continuing and new students in the Fall of 2019.
Back in 2012, the program made some waves by creating a unique playing surface that featured alternating maroon-and-grey striped turf to adorn their new facility.
It's also important to note the staff that the football program is carrying during this difficult time, and most will be seeking employment elsewhere either before, or after the fall season.
Here's the staff currently listed:
Nebraska-Kearney, Western State
North Park University, Cal U of PA, Geneva, Olivet Nazarene, Washinigton & Jefferson, Purdue, Arkansas State
Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Avila, Valley City State, Saint Francis (PA), North Dakota
Assistant HC / Special Teams Coordinator / LBs
Black Hills State, Southwest Minnesota State,
Offensive Assistant / S&C
Geneva, Cal U of PA