UMES president Juliette B. Bell today announced her acceptance of a task force recommendation that the university not restart its football program, which has been dormant since 1980.
Bell had commissioned a task force to evaluate a study conducted by an independent consultant that weighed the pros and cons of adding a football program at UMES.
“The university is not currently in position, with either human or fiscal resources, to reinstate football at this time,” the task force report said.
UMES' football program was a powerhouse among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, compiling a 76.4 percent winning percentage from 1946 to 1970. Several Hawks players went on to play in the NFL, including Art Shell, Emerson Boozer, Roger Brown, Johnny Sample and many others.
“I know some of our alumni, especially those who were here when the university fielded a football team, may be disappointed,” Bell said in a news release. “However, I know that they share my respect for the unforgettable football legacy of this institution.
“The task force is to be commended for doing a thorough job of analyzing the consultant’s report and showing us how those facts fit into our current environment. I concur with its conclusions.”
Dr. Earl S. Richardson, a UMES graduate and retired president of Morgan State, chaired the task force. He recommended that UMES stabilize its athletic program and balance its budget, continue supporting its club football program, and conduct an in-house review in three years to determine if enough progress has been made to reconsider the football issue in five years.
Said Richardson: “With increased human and fiscal resources, and a strengthening of the infrastructure, the task force believes the university’s athletic program can be enhanced, thereby charting a new course in the university’s athletic legacy.”