Two months after the suspension of the football program at Earlham, the repercussions of the decision
are already being felt.
Ten players have transferred from Earlham and five others are considering leaving. Some football alumni
say that have also stopped donating to the school because they weren’t consulted about the decision.
Keith Morey, class of 1996, who played football at Earlham from 1992 to 1995, said, “To my knowledge,
somewhere around 50 plus alums emailed in the week prior to the decision to express their concerns
about walking away from the football program.”
Avis Stewart, Earlham College’s acting president, defended the decision. “Alumni could see how much
the program was struggling in all aspects, but alumni don’t get contacted on decisions of this nature
until after a decision has been made,” Stewart said.
In its announcement, Earlham said it was suspending the football program because the team couldn’t fill
the roster size to compete with other schools and having 39 players going against schools with more
than 70 members was a major safety concern for the players.
A 2015 plan by Earlham had called for the roster to grow from 45 players in 2016 to 50 in 2017 and 60 in
In 2016, 17 students matriculated because of the team, in 2017, it was 22, and, in 2018, it was 17. Those
numbers were more than for any other sports team at Earlham.
The college said that it intends to revive the program in the 2020-2021 academic year, but it will have to
do so with a new staff as all the coaches have already left since the announcement. Julie Kline, Earlham’s
athletic director, said that a search for a new coach has not yet begun.
The uncertainty has alumni sitting on the sidelines, but they are willing to get back in the game and help
“There are still alums willing to contribute, including myself, and I believe many more will step up if EC
can show that they are serious about supporting a football team,” Morey said.