URBANA (Ohio) – The Mountain East Conference’s Urbana University will close after this semester because of challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and years of low enrollment.
“The global coronavirus pandemic has added a level of stress and uncertainty to Urbana’s prospects that make it impossible to sustain,” the university said in a news release Tuesday.
The private university is a branch campus of Franklin University in Columbus, where academic programming from Urbana will be moved.
The college said in a press release that campus officials will be working with officials at the NCAA and MEC organizations to obtain guidance on the most effective ways to transition those student athletes who wish to transfer to other institutions to continue their athletic endeavors as athletic offerings will cease at the Urbana branch campus.
Urbana joined the MEC in 2013 as a full-time member sponsoring 14 varsity athletic teams.
The MEC sent out a press release Tuesday about the Urbana closing saying, “On behalf of the Mountain East Conference, we are deeply saddened by the decision to close Urbana University. As a charter member of the league, we thank Urbana for its dedicated membership over the last seven years.
“The effects of COVID-19 continue to impact and alter all of our futures, but today’s news means that the entire Urbana University campus community will face additional challenges and stresses as staff lose employment and students seek alternative educational opportunities. We extend both our sympathy and support to all of those who are affected.
“We express our gratitude to the Urbana University student-athletes for their hard work and dedication to their sport during their time in our league. We are also thankful for the hard work and support of the coaches, administrators and staff in the athletic department who are both colleagues and friends.
“We appreciate the contributions and the impact of Urbana University during its seven years in the Mountain East Conference.”
The closure affects 111 full-time employees, the university said. “A number of full-time employees” will be offered employment at Franklin University, but officials did not specify how many.