BUFFALO, N.Y. – March 11 – Erie Community College athletics director Peter Jerebko announced the Kats’ football program will immediately leave the Northeast Football Conference and the department will drop swimming and diving from its list of programs.
ECC, which started football in 2001, won the NEFC title in 2003 and finished as the league runners-up in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006. However, the Kats have won just four games in league play in the past three seasons. The Kats will still play several NEFC members in the upcoming 2013 season as they play an independent schedule.
“We’ve seen several institutions drop their programs in recent years and while we’re not pleased with the recent success of our program, we’re still going to be playing on Saturdays,” Jerebko said. “There are more things to the football program, and an athletics department, than wins and losses – such as community involvement and making sure we provide opportunities for individuals to play and hopefully move on to four-year programs. We’ve done those things. And we look forward to continuing to do those things with our football program, just against different competition.”
ECC suspended the swimming and diving program in 2012-13 following a low turnout of interested student-athletes. At the 2011 NJCAA Championships, the ECC women’s team finished 10th as a team and had its 400 freestyle relay team finish eighth. The Kats’ men’s team was 12th as a team.
“It’s unfortunate that we have not been able to get more participants in our swimming and diving program,” Jerebko said. “We’ve taken some time to evaluate the program and we’ll take more time to look at what we need to do.”
ECC recently won the department’s 54th NJCAA national title when the women’s bowling program won the 2013 NJCAA National Invitational Bowling Championships. The Kats’ women’s basketball team won its second-straight Region III Tournament title and will participate in the upcoming NJCAA Division II National Championships in Peoria, Ill.