The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit college sports and lead to teams being discontinued. Earlier this year, MAC schools made cuts (although Bowling Green later announced baseball would return) and, so far, softball has largely been spared—the only DI team to be eliminated to date in fastpitch has been at Wright State, which was announced on June 4, 2020.
Many more are expected in the months to come and, for the first time, a Mountain West Conference school has been forced to make athletic department changes involving entire teams.
Boise State announced today the discontinuation of their baseball program in an effort to reduce their budget by $3 million. Boise State originally cut their baseball program back in 1980, but brought it back in 2019. They played a total of 14 games during the 2020 season. pic.twitter.com/MJnOV9Jfpj
Boise State announced today the discontinuation of their baseball program in an effort to reduce their budget by $3 million. Boise State originally cut their baseball program back in 1980, but brought it back in 2019. They played a total of 14 games during the 2020 season. pic.twitter.com/MJnOV9Jfpj— College Baseball Hub (@CollegeBsbHub) July 2, 2020
In a release posted on its athletic page under the title Boise State Athletics Announces Program Changes, the Boise State Athletic Department announced today that the university would be dropping baseball, swimming and diving programs.
Here is the complete text of the release:
Following a detailed review of Boise State Athletics' budget as a result of financial challenges compounded by COVID-19, the department, in conjunction with University administration, has made the decision to implement cost-saving measures in order to position itself for future success and long-term sustainability, director of athletics Curt Apsey announced Thursday.
Included in the measures will be the discontinuation of the Broncos' baseball and swimming and diving programs. Additional savings will be found by virtue of department and program operating budget reductions. In all, Boise State anticipates reducing its overall budget by nearly $3 million.
"This is one of the hardest decisions athletic departments have to make, but it comes at a time when we are facing the most serious financial challenge we have ever seen," Apsey said. "Times like these are difficult for many people and we appreciate everyone who has supported these programs over the years, including our coaches, current and former student-athletes, donors and fans. We take all these measures seriously, knowing that the long-term stability of our department must remain a high priority."
"Today's decision came after an extensive review and in-depth analysis of the athletics department's budgets and programs by several senior leaders," President Dr. Marlene Tromp said. "The university had already been working closely with athletics to create a sustainable budget. The pandemic has made a challenging financial situation unsustainable. Ultimately, the reduction of the number of sports in which we compete allows Boise State a better chance of remaining competitive at the highest level and provides a more realistic roadmap to a sustainable future for the University and athletic department."
All student-athlete scholarships for the affected programs will be honored, including incoming 2020 signees, and support will be provided to student-athletes wishing to transfer. Those athletes who opt to transfer will be eligible immediately at their next institution, per NCAA rules.
According to an article in the Idaho Statesman today, “The baseball program returned this spring after a 40-year hiatus. The season was cut short by COVID-19 after just 14 games, but two seniors — Michael Hicks and Cory Meyer — were planning to return after the NCAA voted to allow schools to offer an additional year of eligibility.”
“In 2017, Boise State cut its wrestling team in order to pursue baseball, which had been dropped as a varsity sport in 1980.”
“Boise State added swim and dive as a varsity sport in the fall of 2006. This spring, the team posted 12 top-eight finishes at the Mountain West championships, and for the first time in program history, the entire dive team qualified for the NCAA Diving Zone championships.”
“Christine Mabile was hired as the team’s head coach in 2018, and dive coach Brandon Blaisdell has been with the program for five seasons.
Total operating expenses for the swim and dive program averaged $907,736 over the past three years, according to documents obtained by the Statesman through an open records request. In 2019, they were $971,283. The year before, they were $963,159, and in 2017 the team’s expenses were $842,767.”