Jacksonville College suspends basketball programs for financial reasons

Mar. 21—The Jacksonville College Jaguar and Lady Jaguar basketball teams have played their final games.

According to a press release from the college's president, David Erickson, the Administrative Board of Trustees made the decision to shut down the programs at the end of the current school term.

"This decision provides the best opportunity for long-term financial stability and the continued pursuit of the College's mission to provide Christ-centered teaching and training," the release said.

Erickson, who was named Jacksonville College president eight months ago, said that the decision wasn't easy to make and that "it in no way reflects on the success of our teams, student athletes, or our coaches."

As often is the case, the final decision boiled down to being a financial one for the institution.

"Ultimately this decision allows us to focus on our resources on our core mission as a Christian college," Erickson said.

Basketball has been played for the past 112 years at Jacksonville College, the only Christ-centered junior college in Texas.

The release indicated that there are approximately 20 student-athletes currently participating in the school's basketball programs.

"When I first heard the news I was devastated," former Jacksonville College head tennis coach Kenneth Michaud, who now serves in the same capacity at nationally-ranked Iowa Central Community College, said. "It's a sad day for Jacksonville College. I have fond memories of my time at Jacksonville College and watching the talented teams that coaches Jody Bailey and Lynn Nabi put on the court."

Jacksonville College will continue to field men's and women's teams in soccer, tennis, golf, track and field and cross country where the Jaguars and Lady Jaguars compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association's Region XIV.

The Jaguars finished the 2023-24 season with a 9-21 overall record and went 3-16 in Texas Eastern Conference play.

In the Jaguars' final game, played on March 6 at the Curtis Carroll Fieldhouse, the team upset Coastal Bend College, 97-93 in overtime, which was one of the bright spots of the season.

The Lady Jaguars, who have had five different coaches in the past five seasons, had one of their most difficult seasons in school history during the recently completed campaign, wrapping up with a 2-26, 0-16 record.

The team lost eight games by 40 points or more, which included a 77-point defeat at the hands of nationally ranked Trinity Valley Community College on February 3.

The Jacksonville College women's last win came on December 2, 2023 when the Lady Jaguars defeated LSU-Eunice, 70-65.

From a competition standpoint, the Jaguars and Lady Jaguars were never able to establish themselves coming out of Covid-19, which began in March 2020.

In the past 14 years, Jacksonville College Basketball has sent players to NCAA Division I universities such as Iowa State, Creighton, Duquesne, Stephen F. Austin, Southern Illinois, Montana State, Northwestern (La.) State and Utah Valley State.

Several former Jacksonville College basketball coaches are actively coaching at the Division I level. That group includes Greg Young (Troy University), Cinco Boone (Abilene Christian University), Savannah Carter (Auburn University) and Leesa Ailshie (Northwestern (La.) State University.

Jacksonville College will host two town hall meetings that will be open to alumni and community members who would more information, or have questions about the decision to shutter the college's basketball programs.

Both meetings will take place at Curtis Carroll Fieldhouse, with the first slated for 7 p.m. Friday and the second scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.