Citing financial concerns, the Maricopa County Community College District will eliminate its football programs following the 2018 season.
Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College, Mesa Community College and Glendale Community College will all discontinue their football programs following the fall 2018 season.
"Ongoing financial constraints, including leveling off of enrollment growth at a majority of the colleges as well as the zeroing out of state support for MCCCD has led to the need for the District to look at the prioritization of resources to ensure we continue to meet the changing educational needs of the community," MCCCD said in a statement Monday.
In that statement, MCCCD communications director Matt Hasson said the decision to eliminate football was not an easy one.
"Although this is a disappointment to our student-athletes, coaching staff, and football fans, it is ultimately the right decision for the District and the long-term success of students," Hasson said.
MCCCD says its four football programs comprise 20 percent of the district's total athletic budget and over 50 percent of related insurance costs. The district said no other sports will be impacted.
Players we spoke to say hearing the news is tough.
"There's a lot of kids that won't get to live their dreams and that's sad. That's crushing," said Cristian Chavez.
He's not the only one who is sad to see the program go.
"It breaks my heart," explained Joe Kersting. Kersting coached at Glendale Community College for more than 20 years and even led the school to two national championships.
"I know what many of these guys went through to be college athletes and to have the opportunity to get one education, to have the opportunity to grow as men," said Kersting.
All four football programs currently compete in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, which competes in Region I of the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Full statement from MCCCD RE: the elimination of its football programs. pic.twitter.com/WpdeA48EMB
— ABC15 Sports (@abc15sports) February 5, 2018