The Montgomery College-Rockville football program, which played in the National Junior College Athletic Association's national title games in 1986 and 1990, will be discontinued next year for financial reasons.

Coach Phil Martin, who informed his team of the discontinuation yesterday, said the decision was based on "a mutual agreement" made by the administration, the athletic director and himself. Martin said all parties were concerned about the lack of financial support for the 55-year-old program and the lack of official academic help, such as a tutorial system, for his players.

"In a time of increasing budget constraints, the college has decided that it cannot afford to allocate additional resources that would be needed to continue the program's present quality," Rockville Campus Provost Mary Kay Shartle-Galotto said in a news release.

For more than a decade, Montgomery-Rockville has been the only community college in Maryland and western Pennsylvania to field a football team. With few teams in the region, Montgomery College's travel expenses have been hefty for a school its size.

Montgomery College football began in 1947, one year after the school opened. The Knights' all-time record is 315-154-13.

Martin, who was named to the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame this month, took over the program in 1982 and led the Knights to a 137-58-9 record. Seven former Knights have played professional football, including Bob Windsor, a Blair graduate and coach at Paint Branch High.

"When I first heard about [the discontinuation], I was shocked," Windsor said. "It's sad. For a lot of kids, including myself, it gave them a chance to get their grades up, have a wonderful experience and then go on to the next level and play."