Cody O'Brien of Maine Maritime Academy takes down at SUNY Maritime runner during a 2016 game at Castine. MMA is suspending its football program indefinitely in the wake of financial concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Tony Llerena

Maine Maritime Academy of Castine has suspended its football program indefinitely while the school’s administration weighs the overall financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the college’s programs and operations.

The announcement was made Friday by MMA president Dr. William J. Brennan.

“The football program is our most expensive non-academic program,” he said. “As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are already mounting and with the prospect of a 10 percent curtailment in state funding, we need to review the program’s overall impact — and the impact of all programs — on our ability to continue to operate the institution.”

Two club sports, rugby and wrestling, also are being reviewed after both were canceled for the fall because of COVID-19-related public health guidelines.

“This is an administrative decision brought about by the extreme challenges we are facing as an organization,” Brennan said.

The college announced in mid-July that its athletic competitions are being suspended for the fall semester.

The football program’s budget is $475,000 according to director of athletics Steve Peed, who was upset by the news.

“I have had better days, without a doubt,” Peed said. “We have to make sure our kids know we still care for them. They will always be Mariners.” 

Maine Maritime Academy’s football program has struggled mightily since the Mariners finished the 2010 season with an 8-3 record after advancing to the New England Football Conference title game and the ECAC North Central Bowl championship contest.

Since then MMA has compiled a 13-69 overall record, 9-51 in conference play.

Coach Chris McKenney’s club finished 0-10 last fall, the team’s second straight winless season.

The Mariners have lost their last 22 games overall and 16 straight conference outings since their 34-16 victory over Coast Guard at Ritchie Field in Castine on Oct. 14, 2017.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...