The Death of College Football on Long Island

Posted by Greg on Aug 11, 2010 in Op-Ed |

Now that Hofstra has pulled the plug on football, those of us in Nassau County that appreciate college football are in quite a bind. But all is not lost. The C.W. Post Pioneers, a former Division II powerhouse play home games at Hickox Field on the pastoral C.W. Post campus. Those that aren’t on Long Island, should know that C.W. Post is housed on the former estate of the cereal magnate Post family. If that’s not enough to get your butt in the seats, take this simple nugget into account: C.W. Post is the only non-Pennsylvania college in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. So why are they there, you ask? It’s quite simple, really. The PSAC houses some of the best D-II football schools in the nation, of which C.W. Post is included. In 1998, Post introduced Bryan Collins to the mix and for eight years, the team won an average of eight games. Then in 2005, Post won the first two NCAA Division II tournament games for the first time in program history and advanced to the national quarterfinals. The following year, Collins was named athletic director at Post, and since 2007, the team hasn’t posted more than six wins in the last three years, and this year has been predicted to finish third in the PSAC. So is the pressure on Collins? One has to think it is. An exciting and telling season is certainly in store.

Just a few miles north in Kings Point, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy fields a squad that hasn’t made the ECAC playoffs since 2002 and hasn’t visited the NCAA playoffs since 1994. Hired in 2005, Coach Ed Toope hasn’t helped the cause much. The team hasn’t won more than four games since he took over and doesn’t seem to be a factor in this year’s Liberty League title. Things can’t be too promising over at the USMMA, the school’s football Web page has pages and links dating back to the 2006 season. An intentional oversight? Someone sleeping on the job? Either way, it doesn’t appear to be a pretty season. But then there’s the golden ribbon to tie it all together. The USMMA is a service academy, who plays squads such as Coast Guard Academy and SUNY-Maritime. But the whole schedule isn’t laden with cupcakes, other opponents for this year’s 2010 season include the likes of Hobart, Union and Rensselaer, all of whom have made the playoffs in the last three years. So does it look bleak for the Mariners? Absolutely. Are five wins probably a stretch? Sure. But hey, stranger things have happened. And if it does happen, sure would be nice to say that this lowly little blog gave the USMMA program a few minutes of their time far before the New York Times, Newsday, and the like.

Aside from St. John’s in Queens, no other local schools offer football. NY Tech, Farmingdale, Molloy, Old Westbury and Adelphi all don’t sport football, and aside from two-year college Nassau Community, there are no other college football programs in Nassau County. Now if one ventures to Suffolk County, it’s a different story with Stony Brook carrying the torch, but truth be told, that’s really about all. St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue and Dowling in Oakdale don’t offer football, and the only other remaining colleges in Suffolk County are all junior colleges.

Does Long Island have a college football problem? Absolutely. Is there a remedy in sight? Not likely. So until this problem gets ameliorated, the Mariners and Pioneers are it. Other than that, College GameDay it is.


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