TUCSON, Ariz - Pima football will play it's final season in 2018, citing budget cuts as the reason for the program's cancellation.
"I apologize that it turned out this way," said athletic director Edgar Soto. "I hope this doesn't keep the student-athletes from continuing college."
Soto told the board that the new budget will be $1.9 million dollars, down from $2.6 million. Talks about eliminating the football program began when the Maricopa County Community Colleges planned to cancel football after 2018.
"Had they not dropped their program, I think this conversation would still be had."
The news is devastating for head coach Jim Monaco. He told KGUN-TV on Monday, "It's hard for me to look at some of these kids that we've given an opportunity to, mostly our inner city kids, to think that they wouldn't have a place to go, it hurts."
Monaco says 17 of his players have scholarships for 2019.
"Players will be playing for a scholarship," said Soto, referring to the 2018 season. "I think you are going to see our players playing harder than ever."
The golf and tennis programs are also on the chopping block. Soto says the college will help those affected find scholarships.