By Ray Hamill … This fall, the local sports community will witness the end of an era when Humboldt State football plays its final game.
After almost a century of competing, much of it within the pristine environment of the Redwood Bowl, as picturesque a setting for football as anywhere in the nation, Humboldt County will say farewell to one of its most cherished sporting traditions.
It will no doubt be a tear-filled goodbye, and the final home game against Azusa Pacific on Nov. 3 will be an emotional occasion for what will surely be a packed house.
The school announced the decision in a press release earlier this summer — yes, a press release — attempting to bring closure to an issue that has plagued the current administration for the past 14 months.
They claimed it was a simple matter of dollars and economics and that the costs were just too high to maintain.
That’s a dubious assessment at best, as independent reports have shown, but even if it were true it fails to take into account the innumerable intangibles associated with axing such a tradition, not to mention the effects it will ultimately have on the rest of the athletic department.
The true cost of cutting HSU football — both economical and psychological— won’t be known for some time, but make no mistake about it, this is an issue that transcends the HSU athletic department, and one that will have far-reaching consequences for the entire school and surrounding community.
From the adverse effects on an already-dwindling enrollment at the school and diversity on campus, to the trickle-down impact it will have on the local economy and booster support, to the inevitable knock-on effect on the number of women teams and female athletes at the school, this is about far more than merely taking away football.
In the coming weeks, here at HumboldtSports.com, we’ll be taking a closer look at the many different aspects of the decision to axe the program. Throughout the season, we’ll be publishing a series of stories dissecting a different impact it will have on the athletes, fans, boosters, and the entire Humboldt County community, and reminding us all of what we’re losing with the decision to cut football at Humboldt State.
And we’ll be asking those responsible why this decision was made? And dissecting whether it was really necessary.
Football may be on the way out at Humboldt State, but the true costs of the decision are only beginning to be felt.