AIB Students Upset with Decision to End Athletic Program

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Student athletes at AIB will have to find a new school and a new team next year.

Thursday, AIB announced more details about its merger with the University of Iowa.

“We`re announcing today that we will be ending athletics at AIB College of Business after the Spring season, the Spring of 15,” says AIB Athletic Direcotr Al Dorenkamp.

It was news athletes didn’t want to hear.

“I came from Brazil to AIB to play soccer and get my degree and that`s the main reason I came,” says AIB Junior Renato Hernato.

Firmento is on a student visa at AIB, and while he can stay at the school he’ll have to give up soccer.

Transferring to another school could be difficult.

“I really don`t know what I’m going to do right now. I`m considering transferring but the credits thing is hard because we don`t know if all our credits will transfer to other institutions and it`s kind of hard to get a scholarship when I only have one more year left of eligibility so that`s kind of hard for me,” says Firmento.

AIB says it will honor student athlete scholarships through June of 2016, but for Firmento playing is his passion and the reason he left his family and friends in Brazil for Iowa.

“It`s frustrating because we want to graduate and we want to get our degree but at the end of the day the main reason we come here is to play the sport that we love, if it wasn`t for soccer I wouldn't be here,” says Firmento.

Kat Vela is one of the lucky ones.

She's a senior and as a member of the softball team will be able to play her last season this spring.

However, she's still frustrated all the athletes were left in the dark for so long.

Questioning whether or not we were going to have a season or not was hard to think about and knowing that we can still play is good but knowing that there are no sports next year is not good at all,” says Firmento.

Firmento says while it's hard for every student athlete international ones face bigger challenges and many like him are still trying to figure out what's next.

“Especially for me and other international students it`s not that easy to find somewhere to go to find a home you know and AIB was that home for us and now we don`t know what to do,” says Firmento.

AIB officials say there are about 350 student athletes, 50 who are international students.


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