BGSU announced Friday that they will eliminate their baseball program effective immediately. This was announced as part of a plan for a $2 million reduction to the operating budget of the intercollegiate athletics department.
The decision comes after consideration of multiple factors that include financial impact, support services needed, facilities, equity and a comparison of MAC sport sponsorship. In all, the elimination of baseball will result in saving the athletic department approximately $500,000 annually.
“This was a very difficult, but necessary, decision. As a baseball alumnus, 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,” BGSU Athletic Director Bob Moosbrugger said.
Moosbrugger also stated that the athletic department will honor their scholarship agreements through graduation, and that the program will be supportive of players that wish to transfer to another school.
With this change BGSU will now sponsor 17 NCAA Division I sports, including six men’s sports and 11 women’s sports. The move will affect 34 different student-athletes as well as three coaches.
“While we remain committed to supporting Division I athletics programs, we must do this in a financially sustainable approach. This decision was not made lightly, and does not reflect the rich history of the program,” BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers said.
That rich history includes five MAC championships and four NCAA regional appearances.
According to the athletic department, baseball will be the only athletic program eliminated at this time and they are still a committed member of the MAC conference.
It was an emotional Moosbrugger who spoke to the media shortly following the announcement.
“This has been an extremely difficult day for the Falcon family. Unfortunately these challenging times have made it necessary for difficult decisions to be made, but it is the people affected by these decisions that makes my heart break,” he said.
The decision was first relayed to the baseball coaching staff. Two of which are assistant coaches and the other being head coach Danny Schmitz who was hired as the head coach of Bowling Green baseball in 1991.
“Danny has been fiery since the day he stepped on campus and I expected that from him. He’s passionate about his baseball program and as I would want him to be. Obviously he’s concerned for his two assistant coaches with young families, the 34 baseball families, and a few recruits coming in. He wasn’t thinking about himself, he was thinking about those people,” Moosbrugger said.
While this is the final decision that Moosbrugger and the athletic department came up with, it wasn’t the only scenario that was looked at. But this is what they felt was best for the university.
“I had to put my personal bias aside for the sport that I love, it’s one of the reasons that I came here, and I did what I thought was best for the entire athletic department. At the end of the day I can rest a little bit easier, I haven’t gotten much sleep over the past week or so, knowing that I tried every different angle with this decision,” he said.
While baseball will take the brunt of the hit by getting their program completely removed, the other athletic programs will not go without damage either.
“Every sport will be impacted by our budget cuts. We are still working through that. We asked the coaches to give us 5-25% reduction,” he said.
The level of impact these cuts to the athletic department will cause is unknown at this time , but Moosbrugger believes that it will only make their will to succeed stronger.