Football players from Melbourne Central Catholic or Holy Trinity who looked forward to playing against new district member Florida Air Academy in the fall are out of luck.
The Melbourne private academy announced its decision to drop football on Tuesday. An official school statement said the move came “after months of consideration and has nothing to do with the performance of the coaches or the players.”
The Falcons finished 5-5 in the fall but lost three consecutive Class 2A, District 3 games beginning in late October to fade in the race for two playoff spots.
FAA was scheduled to compete in Class 3A, District 3 for the next two seasons, putting the team in a district that included Melbourne Central Catholic and Holy Trinity.
It’s the second time the school has dropped football. After a 10-year absence, the academy reinstated varsity football in 2004.
The change also will affect several local athletes. Melbourne resident Alex Jasmin will be a senior in the fall and may now be looking for a new school.
“We had a meeting with the president today, and they said they were canceling football,” he said. Jasmin, a receiver and defensive back who lives in the Palm Bay High area, expressed interest in attending MCC or Holy Trinity.
According to Jeanette Middleton of the school’s public relations department, only about 160 boys from grades 6 to 12 are available to the program after excluding international students who don’t play football.
The release included the following comment attributed to FAA president James Dwight: “As an international school of 300, many of our students have grown up in countries where football is not played. Sustaining a competitive football program has increasingly grown more difficult. Competing with schools two or three times our size places us at a competitive disadvantage and potential FHSAA changes would only add to the difficulty.”
A roster provided to FLORIDA TODAY by Falcons coach John Kraynik in August listed 35 players, including 12 players who have since completed their eligibility.
On Tuesday, Kraynik said he was unable to comment on the school’s decision.