Recently, the Farragut Board of Directors came to the difficult decision to discontinue the football program, a decision made even more difficult as many of the board members played football at Farragut. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, football was canceled for the 2020-2021 school year, and due to the Board’s decision, it will be discontinued as of the 2021-2022 school year.
The Board of Directors took into consideration student wellness, liability factors, and scientific studies showing a link between football and traumatic brain injuries that lead to lasting health problems. Not surprisingly, many parents are deciding that their children’s well-being is too important to risk for the sake of a game.
While high school football still attracts more players than other sports, the numbers have been steadily declining nationally, particularly at small, private independent schools. Several factors are seen as responsible for the decline in football participation, including rising costs, changing demographics, schools offering alternative sports, and players specializing in one sport. Clearly, though, the biggest issue has been increased awareness and research about the potential health problems associated with football.
While safety and participation are the key reasons, the board also considered financial and operational resources and constraints. Fielding a football team is a tremendous financial burden on the athletic department. The overall costs required to equip, train, and prepare a team extend well beyond the scope of a 10-week regular season. Therefore, considering the school’s Covid-19 related budget cuts, safety concerns, and overall financial constraints, it was decided to end the Farragut football tradition and apply those resources to Farragut’s other athletic programs such as basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, swimming, tennis, wrestling, golf, volleyball, sailing, and track & field.
Rest assured that this decision will not erase nor diminish the past achievements of Farragut Football and we will continue to celebrate those achievements. We remain fully committed to fulfilling our mission to provide a college preparatory environment that promotes academic excellence, leadership skills, and social development within a diverse community of young men and women and recognize the critical role that athletics plays in doing so. This year, AFA fielded 20 athletic teams and 78% of our students participated in one or more sports.