|Principia, which went 4-19, 4-14 in the SLIAC last season, has suspended its women's basketball program effective immediately.
Principia athletics file photo
Citing the lack of a head coach, lack of student interest and lack of prospects for success, Principia College announced that it is suspending its women's basketball basketball program effective immediately.
In a written statement on the school's website, Director of Athletics Dr. Lee Ellis wrote:
"For some time now we have been evaluating our programs, including women's basketball, as part of a larger discussion about how to reconsider, repurpose, and potentially restructure our athletics offerings in response to the changing landscape of college sports.
We are very aware that each one of the 18 varsity programs Principia College currently sponsors has value to the individuals who participate, and our goal continues to be discerning the right mix of sports to offer our community in order to bring the about the greatest good. Within the last year, we introduced beach volleyball, made a significant investment in our track and field program, and are preparing to host the 2017 NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships.
The coaching vacancy in women's basketball, declining level of student interest, and prospects for the program's success precipitated the Athletics Department's recommendation to the College administration that we suspend the program.
Principia College is committed to providing its student-athletes with a vigorous physical activity curriculum that encourages spiritual growth and character development, creates opportunities to learn and master new skills, and provides a forum for achieving competitive excellence."
The head coaching position was vacated when Nicole "Collie" Bushong announced at the team's end-of-season banquet that she was leaving to pursue other endeavors. A graduate of Principia, Bushong went 28-89 in five seasons with the Panthers. Principia used eight players last season, with one senior on its roster.
Despite the large number and wide variety of institutions competing in Division III basketball, it is rare that programs are suspended or discontinued. Polytechnic University merged its athletic program with New York University at the end of the 2013-14 season when it became NYU's school of engineering. Spelman discontinued intercollegiate athletics after the 2012-2013 season and New York City College of Technology (NYCCT) made a similar move in 2011.
SUNY Maritime suspended its women's basketball program in July 2007, citing financial constraints and low participation.