Football sees a revitalization at Manhattan College

Flag team, other clubs struggling for school funds


The Manhattan College flag football team is scrambling to raise funds to continue their season. The program was brought back last fall and as such is still in the process of getting things moving.

Many of the current teammates came to the school and were saddened by the lack of a flag football team. The team was proposed by faculty and staff in the fall of 2023 and carried out a successful season for the first time in more than four decades.

Brendan Matos, a sophomore, is the unofficial captain of the team. He found himself in a leadership position and his teammates have ultimately trusted him with a lot of the day-to-day handlings of the team.

“I’ve been playing football since as long as I can remember and coming to Manhattan I knew there wasn’t an official club or an organization,” Matos said. “But one way or another I knew that I was going to find my way to play somehow some way, whether it was intramurals or make the club myself.

“It just happened that when I started to attend Manhattan they proposed we start a club team so I guess you could say it’s a miracle.”

Robert Reatz, a freshman on the team, also thought it was strange that the school had so many sports and no football program.

“As a team collectively, we wanted to revitalize the problem and the school spirit that was around it,” Reatz said. With this idea in mind, the team took to the school’s library archives where they sought out the history of the club football team.

According to Reatz, they learned that the football team originated in the 1800s as a Division One team. The team came back strong from the years of 1924 to 1942 but was very rapidly shut down when America went into World War II. The club team then returned from 1965 to 1987 as a student-run organization in a similar fashion to what the students are trying to run today.

Some of the teammates took to the archives again last week to dig up old team rosters and records. The goal of searching through the archives this time was to find alumni to reach out to.

Digging up the old information on the team encouraged the students. They are hoping their predecessors will not only reminisce about their shared football experiences but also feel compelled to donate.

“We wanted to get in touch with the alumni and see if they wanted to be a part of trying to revitalize football at Manhattan,” Reatz said. “We wanted to possibly invite some out to a game or just even speak to them to see what their experience was starting the team and running it as a student organization kind of like what we’re doing.”

The team is currently trying to raise funds for a flag football tournament in April where the team would have to travel to Rochester.

Reatz, Matos, and their teammates are collectively looking to bring back not just the sport btu the culture around the football team. In their search, they found evidence of the cheer team being involved with games past and games becoming schoolwide events that would allow for tailgating.

Reatz believed that livening up the team’s events would help further school spirit and bring the community together.

The team has two faculty advisors who come to them with ideas for games, tournaments, and fundraising but the teammates must contribute to fundraising ideas and potential games. Despite being recognized by the school as an official club they are unsure of how or if they could qualify for funds from the school but they do know that they are currently on their own.

“We’ve been basically told the fundraising has to come from us,” said Reatz, “the school hasn’t given us any money.”

Other clubs are having their own difficulties affording expenses.

Grace Cardinal, the editor in chief of the college’s newspaper, the Quadrangle, said that the paper’s budget was cut significantly this past year.

Cardinal has heard about other clubs having their budgets slashed as well. This happened during the time when the college laid off tenured professors and cut majors due to a ballooning deficit.

“My roommate is on the dance team, which is considered a club, not athletics so they’ve been struggling a lot to fundraise as they had their budget cut completely,” she said.

Unlike the flag football team, the Quadrangle had received an allotment of funds from the school. However, for the full year the club was only given $5,000. In Cardinal’s first year working with the paper, during the 2021 to 2022 school year, she said they printed their regular once-a-week newspaper and covered all of their expenses with the school’s allotted budget. This year with their $5,000 they can cover the expenses needed to format the paper and a handful of printed newspapers.

“We had enough money to be printing every single week so I have to imagine it was cut by probably $10,000 to $15,000,” Cardinal said. Every round of printing costs a little over a $1,000 and for a total of 26 printed papers, the Quadrangle’s budget of $5,000 for this year doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The football team is continuing to fundraise. They are currently running a fundraiser with Chipotle, a popular fundraiser that allows students to support the team by showing a flyer at the location by the school that will allow some proceeds to go towards the football team.

Matos is unwilling to give up on his dream for the team to continue playing in the spring tournament and through next fall season. “Everything I do is 100 percent and this is no exception,” he said.

The team is gathering funds through their GoFundMe to reach their $3,000 goal,

Reatz added that flag football had been added to the sports competing at the upcoming 2028 Olympics, designating it as an officially recognized sport.

He hopes that this recognition can help bring support to the school’s team so they can all continue their dream of getting to play together.

Manhattan College, flag football, funds, The Quadrangle, Brendan Matos, Robert Reatz,