College athletics’ budget crisis claimed its first baseball team Friday.
Bowling Green State University announced Friday that it’s NCAA Division I baseball program has been cut as “part of a plan for a $2 million reduction to the operating budget of the intercollegiate athletics department.”
Bowling Green was 2-11 when the 2020 season was suspended in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Falcons went 16-33 in 2019, including 8-18 in the Mid-American Conference. The elimination of the program impacts 34 student-athletes and three coaches.
“This was a very difficult, but necessary, decision,” Bowling Green director of athletics Bob Moosbrugger, who played baseball for the Falcons in the early 1990s, said in the university’s release. “My heart breaks for the families affected by this decision. We will ensure the student-athletes in the program have support during this challenging time. We will honor their scholarship agreements through graduation and, should they pursue their collegiate baseball career elsewhere, we will assist in the process of finding a new home.”
According to a frequently asked questions document compiled by the university, the elimination of baseball will result in a cost savings of about $500,000 annually. The university is projecting a shortfall of about $29 million in a difficult budgetary climate that was the result of all university activities being canceled or moved online.
Bowling Green now has six men’s sports and 11 women’s sports, keeping the Ohio university one sport ahead of the 16 required to be a Division I member.
“While we remain committed to supporting Division I athletics programs, we must do this in a financially sustainable approach," BGSU president Rodney K. Rogers said. "We have made the difficult decision to eliminate the baseball program due to financial constraints. This decision was not made lightly, and does not reflect the rich history of the program, including five Mid-American Conference championships and four NCAA regional appearances."
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The restructuring of the athletic department also includes integrating the Department of Recreation and Wellness to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Moosburger will expand his role to become director of intercollegiate athletics, recreation and wellness.
“He will not provide oversight for all athletic facility operations and integrate our student recreation and wellness programs to focus on physical wellness of not just our Division I student-athletes, but each student,” Rogers said.
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