George Welsh, the Navy football coach, broke away from a press luncheon yesterday to oversee the last session of spring practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium -- and by the time he got there his Mids' 1981 schedule had a hole in it.
Villanova had dropped football.
The suburban Philadelphia school had been scheduled to play in Annapolis Sept. 19, the week after Navy's opener with The Citadel. No more. Coach Dick Bedesem was informed Tuesday night -- "I didn't even know they (the trustees) were discussing it," he said -- of the announcement the Rev. John M. Driscoll, Villanova president, would make the next day of termination of 87 years of Wildcat varsity gridiron activity.
Never mind that Bedesem's stalwarts bounced back from an 0-3 start, including a 7-3 opening loss to Maryland (not on the 1981 schedule), to win six of its last eight, including a 23-7 finale over arch-rival Temple. Never mind, as Wildcat senior defensive tackle Howard Long said, "We have had a good recruiting year and now these guys (recruits) are stuck." Never mind that Bedesem said, "I would rather have seen us drop down a division (from I-A) than drop out."
Villanova, said President Driscoll, is "intensifying its rededication to its academic mission" and can no longer "in good conscience" bear the expense of varsity football. The 90 scholarship athletes affected, including recruits, can keep their grants if they do not wish to transfer, Driscoll said.