Admiral Farragut Academy Board of Directors update regarding Alumni Homecoming and the Football Program
Following this year’s successful virtual Homecoming, Farragut will be building on that success and starting a new tradition beginning in winter 2022 by moving the annual Alumni Homecoming to late January / early February (date TBA). What better place to be in late winter than St Petersburg! We are also fairly certain there will be no threat of hurricanes as there has been with the annual fall date. Additionally, this gives Farragut Basketball a chance to shine in the alumni limelight as Homecoming will be centered around a home basketball game –and perhaps an alumni game as well.
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. 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.
The discontinuation of football coupled with the potential to attract greater attendance for a winter event in Florida, is an opportunity for Farragut to develop new traditions for Homecoming and our greater alumni community. We look forward to an increase in travel in the coming year and the opportunity to welcome you all back to campus for Homecoming 2022.