BEAUMONT, Texas -- Lamar University officials voted 5-4 Thursday to drop the school's football program for financial reasons, and the head coach criticized boosters for waiting too late to try to save the sport.
Regents voted after a three-hour meeting Thursday to kill the program because of continuing financial losses and despite efforts by Lamar football supporters to increase season ticket sales and monetary donations.
'I cannot recommend that we continue our football program,' said Lamar President Billy Franklin. 'I cannot identify the sources of income to continue to support (the football program) deficit.'
The sport had carried an ongoing deficit from $170,000 to $500,000, and this year was operating about $200,000 in the red.
'I've been here for four years, and this is the first season ticket campaign they've ever had,' said Coach Ray Alborn. 'If this had been done earlier, and I don't think that's the football coach's responsibility, I think this thing could have been saved.
'There are alot of people int he world who have awhole lot worse problems than Ran Alborn's got ... My problem is certainly not the end of the world. We'll all survive this. I feel really bad for the players.'
Lamar first fielded a football team in 1932. The Cardinals had posted thier best record since 1979 this past season, going 5-5.
Townspeople, students and football backers tried unsuccessfully to change the minds of school regents at Thursday's meeting.
'I just kind of have an empty feeling,' said Rush Wood, Lamar's sports information director. 'Football is something you expect to always have, but I realize there comes a time when business decisions have to be made.'
The Cardinal Club had raised about $55,000 and sold over 3,000 season tickets for the 1990 football season, but their efforts did not sway Lamar regents.