After a devastating home loss to Dartmouth last week, President Amy Gutmann announced that Penn would disband their varsity football team, effective immediately. After being tied 7-7 in the first quarter, Dartmouth embarrassed the Quackers in front of a packed stadium, scoring 24 unanswered points before the game ended.
“I’m very disappointed to see Penn lose to a school represented by a beer keg,” Gutmann said.
Her decision marks the first deceased football team in the Ivy League, but not in Division I sports. The University of Chicago, a founder of the Big 10 athletic conference, pulled their football program in 1939, citing that the sports team prevented UChicago from achieving the high academic status they wanted. UChicago is now a DIII sports school that is unheard of outside academic elite circles. This is precisely what Gutmann is striving for now.
“Penn has been known as the party school of the Ivy League for too long,” said Interim Provost Beth Winkelstein. “This is the first step towards removing that misnomer.”
The school presented its plan on how it would budget the extra millions of dollars from the football program. They plan over the next few years to demolish Franklin Field and build a new residential building in its place.
“Students will no longer have to walk half an hour to get to their math and physics classes. We care a lot about those students,” said Steven J. Fluharty, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The University will no longer recruit new players, but current players will be allowed to remain students if they join a more fruitful athletic team. Many players plan to join wrestling and rugby, while others have opted for “less skillful” sports such as swimming, track and field, and rowing. Some want to transfer to other schools to continue their promising football careers.
Several students were asked to share their thoughts on this radical change. One commented that they were upset that they would have to go to Eagles games now and watch, “real football.”
“Amy can cut the football team, but she will never cut school spirit,” Chad Johnson C’22 defiantly claimed. “Frat culture will never die!”
For most Penn students, life will continue as normal; classes are unaffected, and large protests will still occur monthly on campus.