Simmons University announced that it is discontinuing its basketball program because of concerns that the program would not have enough players to field a team for the 2019-2020 season.
“Following a review of program participation numbers over the last five years, it has become clear that we haven't made the progress necessary to sustain the program,” said the university in a release posted on its website. “We had serious concerns that we would not field enough players to sustain a competitive team this upcoming year.”
“As we have a responsibility to our current and incoming students, as well as to the 12 other teams in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference and to the Commissioner, who needs to schedule the upcoming season, we chose to act now to avoid canceling the program during the season.”
Simmons primarily used nine players in the just-completed season in which the Sharks went 7-18, 4-8 in the GNAC. Four of those nine players, including three starters, were seniors. MiAngela Ramos was the only the first-year player on the roster to log significant playing time.
The program’s roster has shrunk over the last four seasons.
- 2014-15: 12 players used; nine appearing in at least 20 games
- 2015-16: 16 players used; 10 appearing in at least 20 games
- 2016-17: 12 players used; 10 appearing in at least 20 games
- 2017-18: 13 players used; nine appearing in at least 20 games
- 2018-19: 11 players used; nine appearing in at least 20 games
Since going 17-9 in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011, the Sharks have topped out at nine wins in the last nine seasons and had five seasons with five victories or less.
Simmons’ departure leaves the GNAC with 12 programs on the women’s side. The University only has women undergraduate students and does not field any men’s sports teams.
Simmons becomes the seventh women's basketball program to announce that the 2018-19 season will be its last in NCAA Division III. National champion Thomas More is headed to the NAIA while Frostburg State and Texas-Tyler will go to Division II.
The College of New Rochelle and Newbury College are closing their doors because of financial problems. Southern Vermont College will also close at the end of this year since financial problems put its accreditation at risk. NCAA Division III members Mount Ida and Daniel Webster ceased operations at the end of the 2017-2018 academic year.