Andrew Nixon’s college football career just took another odd turn.
The former White House quarterback signed with Cincinnati Christian University in July, months after he originally decided he no longer had a passion for the game.
On Monday, the school sent a letter to its students saying it would shut down at the end of the Fall 2019 semester. CCU is faced with $5.8 million in mortgage debt and was on the verge of losing its accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, according to WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.
The HLC sent CCU a Show-Cause Order in July, citing low graduation rates and financial instability as issues that needed to be fixed. But many students believed the school would stay open through next spring.
“We were in the (cafeteria) after practice and everyone in the school got an email,” Nixon said. “We were all kind of taken aback by it because we thought we had the whole (school) year.”
That means Nixon and his teammates will have to find somewhere else to play – and to attend school.
“Am I upset about it? Yes. Is it going to be a life-altering thing? No,” Nixon said. “I’m going to land on my feet, I’m going to keep going to school and I’m going to keep playing ball.”
The CCU football team cancelled the rest of its season and forfeited its final three games. Nixon said the team had too many injuries and ineligible players to safely finish the season. All players are free to transfer elsewhere, and some have already received interest or offers from other schools.
“Due to unfortunate circumstances, the University announced (Monday, Oct. 28) that they are ceasing operations in December,” CCU coach Trevor Zeiders said in a tweet. “Recruitment of our players is open, we will stop recruiting 2020 players and we are all looking for homes.”
The Eagle football team competed in the Mid-South Conference and was in its fourth season of existence. The program picked up its first-ever win by beating Warner 20-17 on Aug. 31. CCU went 0-33 from 2016-18.
"We are deeply saddened for the student-athletes, coaches and administrators over the circumstances that have led to this decision," Mid-South Conference Commissioner Eric Ward said in a statement. “As a conference, we celebrated Cincinnati Christian's first-ever win this season and were excited about the improvement they had shown on the field."
Other Midstate players on the CCU roster include Jermaine Mason (Goodpasture), Jaden Turner (Goodpasture), Taylor Lazenby (Goodpasture), Thadd Chapman (Oakland) and Vincent Thompson (Lancaster Christian).
Following the end of his senior season last fall, Nixon thought his football career was over. He was burnt out and wanted to be a regular college student. But just before graduating from White House last May, Nixon decided to give college football a chance.
He reopened his recruitment, picked up an offer from CCU and signed with the Eagles this summer. He joined the team in early August and played in five games as a punter and backup QB.
When CCU’s primary kickers and punters were ruled ineligible for the first two games, Nixon, who punted in high school, volunteered to help. He had 10 punts for 352 yards in his first two outings.
“I tried to set myself apart,” he said. “I came in with seven QBs in front of me, and I knew it would take a second for me to work my way up. I was just trying to find a way onto the field.”
Now, his playing future hangs in the balance once again.
“I’m trying not to rush into anything,” said Nixon, a business management major. “A lot of my teammates are being frantic, and I completely understand that. I’m taking it day-by-day to look for a good fit.”
Nixon is just a few months removed from the recruitment process, but his short stint at CCU has given him a better idea of how to approach his next move.
“Now I know what to look for in a college,” he said. “I have a better understanding of what I want and what I don’t want.”