Not going down without a fight!


I hope that this letter reaches all of my former Humboldt State teammates, former Jacks that have worn the Green and Gold and all of the Lumberjack supporters out there. I will be sending this letter on to Dr. Lisa Rossbacher along with the rest of the leaders on the HSU campus and in the CSU. Football won’t be cut from Humboldt State without a fight.

This past week some awful news, news that many inside the Humboldt State Athletic Department and University have known about and anticipated for years, was released. Instead of the focus being on the Humboldt State football team going on the road and taking down the No. 8 team in the country, rival Azusa Pacific, it was on whether there will be a football program in two short months. The outcry and response from the news that I have seen through multiple news outlets will hopefully force the administration to pause and think again before they make this decision.

First, to be clear, there is not a financial problem at Humboldt State, there is a leadership problem, starting at the top. Having known about the financial shortfall that was coming when the current President took the job, she has only let it grow and has lacked the decisive decision-making that is required of the position. HSU spent tens-of-thousands of dollars to bring in a consulting firm to help advise her in the process of finding solutions to the current financial problem which she COMPLETELY THREW OUT and ignored. She has also postponed making a decision several times which has continued to let the deficit grow.

The President said a year ago that the “Humboldt State University strategic plan is focused on four key areas: supporting student success, providing a welcoming environment for our diverse community, ensuring that we have the resources needed to fulfill our educational mission, and expanding partnerships, both on- and off-campus.” In what ways will cutting the most successful program on campus be beneficial in serving your strategic plan?

How is cutting athletic programs, specifically football, in line with your strategic plan for the University, which INCLUDES athletics. Getting rid of football is harming students and their pursuit of receiving a degree. It gets rid of the diversity that our University desperately needs that football provides and also will damage partnerships and relationships that have been cultivated over the past decades. There are countless donors and supporters that support the Athletic programs because of the impact sports has on student-athletes.

Coming from a small town in North Bend, Washington, Humboldt State football helped build me into the man I am today. The relationships I made, the people I met, the lessons I learned are all 100 percent attributed to the Humboldt State football program. Coming from a high school that lacked diversity, I was thrown a major curve ball when I arrived in 2011 to a locker room that had players from every corner of the west coast. Oakland, Sacramento, Rocklin, San Diego, Poway, Compton, Los Angeles, you name it. I was able to meet, bond, connect, and work with individuals that I can now call my teammates and brothers FOR LIFE even though we all came from entirely different backgrounds. We all shared a common goal. No where else on campus does a group of students come together like they do in college athletics.

A current report states that there are only 281 (3.41 percent) Black or African American students at Humboldt State University. How are you promoting diversity when a high number of these students are involved with college athletics? There is no question that this group is under-served and not represented properly at Humboldt State and in our community. How is cutting Humboldt State football and athletic teams helping with your strategic plan in promoting diversity when it does the complete opposite?

Most importantly through this ugly situation, what about the kids? What about the coaches that may lose their jobs and their families? Announcing this decision in November will only allow students one month to find new homes before the start of the spring semester as they will no longer be able to pursue their goals and passion in college athletics at Humboldt State. You are in a position to SERVE our students. Announcing this decision in November may be what’s best for you and your colleagues, but don’t forget WHY you have a job and WHO’S best interest you should be considering. The fact that this news broke in the middle of another historical football season at HSU is beyond inappropriate and unprofessional.

I have seen the number of “around 200-250 students” will transfer from the University if football is dropped. I believe that number is a low estimate as that is only the number of student-athletes that will be leaving. This does not include the other students at Humboldt that came because of football and the other athletic programs as they wanted to be a part of the special community too. With struggling enrollment that is showing no signs of improving, how is getting RID of more students going to help? The athletic teams continue to fill their rosters to the maximum number, what good is it to get rid of the schools best recruiters?

What about Arcata and Humboldt County? Only five times a year do 7,000 and more people come together in the community and it is on Saturday nights in the Redwood Bowl. What will Homecoming weekend be like without football? What purpose will the weekend serve if it is not highlighted by a football game in the Redwood Bowl? The sense of community and togetherness that the football program and Humboldt athletics brings can not and should not be underestimated. It should also be noted the potential financial impact that HSU athletics and the football program has for the community, what about the local businesses?

When you add the tens of thousands of dollars spent on the Strategic Edge Report, the hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from IRA fees of the “missing” students that were projected to be attending the University, and another $58,000 in the form of a cancelled Pepsi sponsorship, you have have over $250,000. Yes, with the major financial hole, the leaders on campus elected to not renew a sponsorship which had totaled $58,000.

Seeing the overwhelming support for the program on social media has been special, but changes will have to come from within the University. Just this past spring, all of the Athletic programs were asked to raise money and as football raised over $100,000 which went directly toward athletic scholarships. Football raised their money and a portion of it even went to other teams.

Before you think about cutting the football program, think about the long-lasting impact it will have on YOUR students, coaches, administrators, community members, local business owners and alumni. Cutting the football program will set the University back years and hundreds-of-thousands of more dollars. Taking the easy way out by simply cutting the “biggest” budget item is lazy, irresponsible and won’t be tolerated. The impact the HSU football program had on myself and so many others including your current student-athletes is irreplaceable and a better solution needs to be found.

– Taylor Mitchell, Former HSU Football Player

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program