EDGAR, Wis. (WSAW)- The St. Cloud State football program in Minnesota had 49 student-athletes from Wisconsin on the team. However, the school recently shut down the program, and it affected multiple players from the central Wisconsin area.
Former Edgar football player Alec Hafferman catching a pass during a game in Edgar, Wisconsin, in 2016. (WSAW)
"There's no better word than heartbreaking."
After a terrific career at Edgar High School, Alec Hafferman planned to continue his football journey for at least four years at St. Cloud State.
"You want to say you'll see them again,” Hafferman said. “But you never know what life has in store."
The Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference voted 15-1 to declare football not a tier-one sport. Meaning schools don't need football to remain in the conference, and at St. Cloud, that meant it was on the chopping block quickly.
"We had about two days to kind of process all of this,” Hafferman explained. “And then about a week and half to figure out the rest of our lives, whether that be with football in it or without."
Making matters worse? The players received the news as they prepared for final exams.
Hafferman said: "To be honest it was one of the hardest times of my life because it was tough to eat and then study after it."
Other players from the area affected include Amherst alum Ben Gutschow, and SPASH graduate Jack Kelly. It’s just part of a large Badger state imprint on the program now in flux.
"You go through everything with them,” Hafferman said. “It's tough to see. It's tough to say goodbye when you never really saw this coming."
Hafferman doesn't know what's next, but he's handling the situation with nothing but gratitude and class.
"I respect all the faculty, I respect all the students. I just love the culture at St. Cloud State, I just hope for the best for the university at the end of the day."