For decades Merrillville football players have gone on to play football at St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer. Generationally, Pirates have become Pumas on the grid.
So when senior quarterback Kameron Jackson verbally committed to play football at St. Joe's, it made sense. He was going join Merrillville grads Anthony Tucker, Matthew Thompson and Thomas Jones, who are all freshman at St. Joe's.
Then, a few weeks ago he started hearing the rumors of the financial crisis at the Rensselaer school.
"I didn't know if they were going to be there," Jackson said of St. Joe's, "and I was worried about whether they would even have a team next year."
Consequently, on Wednesday's NCAA National Signing Day, Jackson confirmed that he will instead play football at Robert Morris in Chicago.
The news of St. Joseph's looming financial woes came as president Robert A. Pastoor sent an email to alumni and friends of the college seeking $100 million to keep the school afloat and the need for $20 million by June 1.
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St. Joseph's College began in 1891. It was put on probation by the Higher Learning Commission due to the cash crisis.
Jackson came in to play quarterback for the Pirates after an injury this season. He rushed for 283 yards with four touchdowns. He had 31 tackles and averaged 32.1 yards per punt and had 14 inside the 20-yard line.
"I was afraid it was going to be too late to find another school," Jackson said. "But Robert Morris was a school I was looking at before I committed to St. Joe's. With the financial issues I have at home, I had to find a school that would offer some money."
The college's board of trustees is meeting today and Friday to talk about the crisis. An announcement is expected to come on Monday.
But now Jackson doesn't have to wait for the word.
Robert Morris coach Jared Williams told Jackson he will play safety and wide receiver for the Eagles.
"I'm ecstatic," Jackson said. "I don't have to worry anymore. I thank God for what happened."