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BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University announced Thursday it is dropping football from its sports program because of costs.

The Division II school said the move was necessary to protect 15 other sports from budget cuts. Western Washington is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Current athletes will keep their scholarships if they stay at Western Washington. Transfers will be eligible to play immediately.

The school began playing football in 1903, stopping only for World War I and World War II.

The Vikings had a 383-380-34 record in 98 seasons, reaching the division championship in 1996. They finished 6-5 this past season, beating Colorado School of Mines in the Dixie Rotary Bowl.

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