The news was barely minutes old, still so fresh that New England Patriots defensive back Kyle Arrington was out of the loop. When he was told Thursday morning by NESN.com that his alma mater, Hofstra University, was eliminating its football program, Arrington stood in disbelief.
At first, he thought it was a joke. After all, Arrington had never even heard rumors of the program's potential death. Just a few minutes later, Arrington received a text message from former Hofstra teammate and current Dallas Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen which relayed the story.
The news really hit home, and Arrington couldn't shake the confused look from his face as he learned that Hofstra had joined Northeastern as the second Colonial Athletic Association school to drop football in the last two weeks.
"It's a surprise," said Arrington, who graduated from Hofstra in 2008. "It's definitely a surprise. … It's a shame. I never thought it would happen to a school like Hofstra because we've been known to put some pretty good players out there. We're not Miami or anything like that, but we have a couple good players every now and then coming from Hofstra. It's definitely a shock."
Arrington also knew he'd soon hear from his girlfriend, much like Northeastern football fans have been hearing from Boston University supporters in recent days. Arrington's girlfriend attended St. John's, which doesn't have a football program, and he loved to joke with her about that topic.
"She's going to be talking junk," Arrington laughed.
Arrington and Bowen, along with Saints wide receiver Marques Colston and Steelers tackle Willie Colon are the only four Hofstra alums currently playing in the NFL, though the school's football program dates back to 1937. It made the move to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) in 1991. James M. Shuart Stadium, where Hofstra plays its home games, has undergone two major renovations since 1996, including the installation of FieldTurf in 2007
Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz said in a statement released Thursday that the university will "reinvest [the football program's] resources into new academic programs and need-based scholarships." The school's board of trustees unanimously voted in favor of the decision at a meeting Wednesday night, according to the release.
Arrington said he planned to talk to Hofstra head coach Dave Cohen to ask about his thoughts and future plans, and even though Hofstra's news release never mentioned anything about reviving the program in the future, Arrington remained optimistic.
"I've got to give Coach Cohen a call to see what's going on down there," Arrington said. "That's crazy. I would never imagine they would cut the football program down at Hofstra.
"We'll be back, though."
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