The entrance to the NYIT campus is shown along Northern...

The entrance to the NYIT campus is shown along Northern Boulevard in Old Westbury, Nov. 13, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

The New York Institute of Technology has shut down its athletic program for the next two years.

College president Henry C. Foley announced in a statement Thursday that the school would not compete in the East Coast Conference and NCAA Division II for two years, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the costs associated as a major factor in the institution’s decision to terminate the athletic program.

“We have a rich legacy in competitive sports and are proud of everything our student-athletes have accomplished over the years,” said Foley. “We thank everyone involved in our athletics program for their spirit, dedication, and professionalism. For the next two years, unfortunately, we will no longer be competing with our peers in the East Coast Conference (ECC) and NCAA Division II.”

Foley added the school will honor all athletic scholarships. There are 12 teams and nearly 250 student-athletes enrolled at New York Tech. The school will offer club and intramural sports, and keep its esports club team, The CyBears, active.

Matt Milone, a 6-2, 195-pound, All-CHSAA centerfielder, is an incoming freshman and excited about playing for head coach Frank Catalanotto and the Bears. Milone, who missed the spring season of baseball at St. John the Baptist when the COVID-19 shut down high school sports, was crushed by the news.

“It was devastating, shocking, I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “I was excited to play with all my new teammates and for a great coaching staff. Now, I have to find another school and transfer — it’s horrible.”      

Milone’s father, Marty, said it’s a double whammy to all the Long Island high school seniors that were headed to NYIT or anywhere where the fall season in college sports is shut down.

“This is so heartbreaking,” Marty Milone said. “My son lost his high school season and that was awful. And in two weeks he was prepared to start his freshman year at Tech. Now that baseball is not in the mix we have to scramble and come up with a game plan on what to do.”

Ashley Budrewicz, a sophomore catcher/outfielder for NYIT, said she wasn’t aware there were any talks about suspending athletics until receiving a message from the athletic director Thursday afternoon informing her of the decision.

“My jaw dropped,” said Budrewicz, a 2018 graduate of MacArthur High School. “The first thing you think is, ‘What am I going to do?’ It’s definitely hard for everyone and my heart goes out for every athlete that goes to Tech.”

Jessica Budrewicz, Ashley’s twin sister and a pitcher for NYIT, was working at Dunkin Donuts when she heard the news.

“This is a complete surprise,” Jessica said. “Our coach just emailed us yesterday, saying that our practice schedule is coming out next week.”

The sisters, both majoring in education, said they haven’t had time to think about transferring, but Ashley added, “I don’t really know what other choice we have.” 

“We both want to keep playing,” Jessica said.

The ECC will be reduced to a 10-team conference.

“The East Coast Conference wishes New York Institute of Technology well as they move forward with plans to prioritize operations which will best meet the needs of the institution," said ECC Commissioner, Dr. Robert Dranoff. “The timing of this announcement is very difficult for the student-athletes, coaches, and staff members involved and for our conference members. The ECC will provide assistance to everyone impacted.”

With Owen O’Brien

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME