YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Feb. 5, five members of the Chaney football team committed to college, three of which signed with Urbana University. Less than three months later, Urbana announced it is closing, permanently.
“It just caught me off guard,” said Chaney head coach Chris Amill. “I was in shock and got real worried because we had three guys going to school there.”
Urbana University was founded in 1850. According to the university, the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with years of declining enrollment, has forced them to close the campus.
That decision will directly affect 350 students and well over 100 full-time employees. It also stranded their entire 2020 football recruiting class, including Chaney seniors KeyShaun Davis, Migel Burgess and Raymond Logan.
“The only thing I can do is tell my guys to hold their head up,” Amill said. “Something is going to come, maybe something better. You just have to be patient and trust the process. Actually, going through this whole COVID-19 thing has helped in some ways because they’ve seen so much be taken away from them their senior year. It’s a lot but they’re strong and we’re getting through it.”
To make matters worse, those three Chaney football players had multiple offers before committing to Urbana. Most of that scholarship money has since dried up.
But Tuesday night, the first real breakthrough came when Joe Nemith, a former coach at Urbana, helped Davis find a spot at Gannon University. He can now join their business school and play football for free.
“So that was great news. I actually got a little teary-eyed,” Amill said. “Because for me, at the end of the day, it’s about my boys, and the best opportunity I can get for them is what matters.”