SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WENY) - Notre Dame will not field an 8-man varsity football team this season.

Notre Dame Athletic Director, Bradley Bellinger confirmed the news to WENY on Thursday saying the full roster is a mixture of student-athletes ranging from as young as 7th grade to 12th grade, and there is little-to-no experience playing football, so it is a safety concern that ultimately led to the decision. Alternatives were considered but were unsuccessful.

The Crusaders moved from 11-man to 8-man football in 2018 where they won a Section IV Title.

Notre Dame has been one of the area's more successful programs over the years, much of it was led by the late Mike D'Aloisio who passed away in May. D'Aloisio is the winningest coach in Elmira football history with 244 wins. He also won 19 Division Titles, 5 Section IV Championships, and two intersectional crowns.

Bellinger says Notre Dame is hoping to get enough players to play Modified A next fall and give them the experience to work their way up to varsity.

Stick with WENY on air and online for any further developments.