Campus News

Wesley College Athletics Soon to Shut Down

Da’Vonne Duncan

Delaware State University made the decision to end Wesley College’s NCAA Division III athletic program once the acquisition of the PWI is finalized.

This is not the first time DSU has made headlines in connection with Wesley College. The institution gained recognition for being the first HBCU to acquire a PWI last year. Both schools are located in Dover, Delaware.

Wesley College football team ran onto Drass Field at the Scott D. Miller Stadium before playing against Delaware Valley Jason Minto/The News Journal

Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University, stands by his decision to close the athletics program. On Feb. 16th, Dr. Allen released the following statement in a letter to the Delaware State Community by the Office of the President…

“Wesley College President Bob Clark sent out a note to his campus community that Delaware State University has decided not to continue with a DIII Athletic Program following the acquisition. We recognize the deep disappointment that the Wesley College community is feeling after that announcement.”

The letter further states that “It was not an easy decision. Wesley College athletes and coaches across the broad have carved out a proud tradition in DIII sports, and we made every effort to consider its long-term sustainability. To the end, the University privately fundraised to engage two independent management consulting firms to analyze the visibility of simultaneously operating a DI and a DIII Alethic program.”

To add support to the decision made by the University President, the letter claims that “those analyses were summed up in months of review, engagement with diverse subject matter experts, including officials from the NCAA, and a financial exploration of the University’s capacity to support two comprehensive programs. Among the options considered was a scenario that delayed discontinuing DIII athletics by at least one additional academic year.”

In light of the indebt study of the situation with the Wesley College football team, the President’s letter concludes that “after hearing the consultants’ reports and sharing those findings with Wesley’s leadership, our decision was clear. The programmatic, regulatory, and financial hurdles to operating two athletic programs were either too high and/or uncertain and would have steered us away from the original intent of the acquisition, more low-cost, high-quality educational opportunities each year for a larger number of deserving young Delawareans and a broader impact on Dover, Kent County, and the state. “

On the issue of The “Wesley College of Health and Behavioral Sciences” in downtown Dover, President Allen claims that .. “it will be an exceptional addition to our academic and research portfolio. The new college will significantly enhance the number of aspiring health sciences professionals among our students, in addition to the many Wesley academic programs that will continue under the Delaware State Banner.”     

Dr. Tony Allen pictured in the Claibourne D. Smith Administration Building

The letter sent was sent via email for students, faculty and staff by the Office of Marketing and Communications.

This announcement is shocking to some as Wesley College is known for having an exceptional Division III football team. The success of Wesley’s football team was guided by Mike Drass, former head coach of Wesley College’s football team, who died in 2018. During his 25 seasons, Drass led Wesley to 14 NCAA Tournaments

Dr. Steven Newton, DSU Spokesman, mentioned to WDEL that “under an acquisition, the NCAA won’t allow us to continue with those sports. We only have one Federal ID number, so we can only run one level of sports at a time.”

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