Cabrini to Be Sold to Villanova, Cease Operations After 2023-24 Academic Year


Cabrini downed Amherst 16-12 to capture its first national title in any sport in school history in 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field.

Cabrini, the 2019 Division III NCAA champion in men’s lacrosse, will be sold to Villanova University and cease operations as a separate entity after the 2023-24 academic year, according to a report from Pat Coleman and Dave McHugh of and Hoopsville.

Joe Holden, a chief investigative reporter for CBS Philadelphia, confirmed the report via multiple sources. Cabrini Athletics staff did not return a request for comment from USA Lacrosse Magazine.

Cabrini and Villanova are located about two miles apart, and Villanova is expected to use the Cabrini campus to house its law school.


Less than a year ago, a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that Cabrini had run an operating loss since the 2012-13 academic year, had eliminated the position of provost in an attempt to save money, was facing a budget deficit of more than $5 million, and that the school was seeking a merger.

Cabrini’s men’s team went 14-5 in 2023 and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Cabrini has posted a winning record every year since 2001 and has also gone undefeated in conference play every year since 2001. The Cavaliers captured their first and only NCAA title in 2019 under head coach Steve Colfer, who won 22 straight conference titles.

In another report, Colfer has stepped down as coach and accepted a head position at the Episcopal Academy (Pa.). Colfer confirmed his decision to Inside Lacrosse.

Cabrini’s women’s team was 14-6 in 2023 and also lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Head coach Jackie Neary, who has led the team since 1997, has just one losing season on her resume and has gone 207-9 in conference play.

Villanova and Cabrini announced an agreement has been reached. Below is the full joint statement.

In a shifting and increasingly difficult higher ed landscape, Cabrini University, like so many colleges and universities, has faced significant financial challenges stemming from declining enrollment, the pandemic, and economic uncertainty. Despite efforts to improve revenue streams, and changes to the leadership and academic ranks, Cabrini’s operating deficit remained insurmountable. With all other possible options exhausted and having determined that they must conclude their operations, Cabrini University initiated discussions with Villanova around a plan that would preserve Cabrini’s legacy and mission and honor the original intention for the Cabrini campus to promote opportunities in Catholic education.

As neighboring Catholic institutions connected by our aligned, faith-based missions, the boards of Villanova and Cabrini universities have approved in principle an agreement that will preserve Cabrini’s history, mission, ministry, and legacy after the school graduates its final class in May 2024 and concludes operations.

Key components of the agreement include: 

  • Cabrini will continue the 2023/24 academic year as planned for the incoming freshman, sophomore, and junior classes and see its class of 2024 through to graduation with a robust set of course offerings and a focus on celebrating its history, mission, ministry, and legacy.

  • Cabrini and Villanova will share counseling and resources to support Cabrini students throughout the academic year to develop individualized transfer plans enabling them to complete their degrees as well as support Cabrini faculty and staff in identifying potential employment opportunities.

  • Once Cabrini operations conclude, Villanova will assume ownership of the land.

  •  Villanova will preserve Cabrini University’s legacy, both in name and in the continuation of some of the institution’s most impactful work in education, nursing, service, immigration, and the advancement of women.

Discussions are ongoing in good faith and grounded in mutual respect for both communities. Once a definitive agreement has been reached, we will have more information to share.

Helen Drinan, MBA, President of Cabrini University

The Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, President of Villanova University


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