Bowling Green State Reinstates Baseball ProgramNews
Bowling Green Baseball is back.
The Falcons made national headlines for the wrong reasons less than three weeks ago when athletic director Bob Moosbrugger announced the athletic department was cutting baseball to save an estimated $2 million annually in the department’s budget. The baseball program accounted for an estimated $500K of that amount.
Thanks to heavy support from locals and baseball alums alike, the wheels were put in motion over the past three weeks to save the program, and the group raised $1.5 million to keep the program intact for at least three more seasons, the university announced in a statement on Tuesday. The fundraising group included a plethora of alums, including Orel Hershiser.
“After very positive and productive dialogue with alumni and former student-athletes nationwide, Bowling Green State University is pleased to reinstate its baseball program effective immediately. In just days, our passionate baseball alumni and donors have committed $1.5 million over the next three years. During this time, the university, in partnership with a select group of baseball alumni, will pursue a long-term funding solution to sustain and support the program.
“BGSU is grateful for its alumni and friends who have stepped up during this difficult time to ensure their alma mater is positioned to thrive on the other side of the current COVID-19 crisis,” the statement continued. “We are inspired by the efforts of our baseball alumni, and we look forward to continuing to cultivate and reinvigorate all BGSU alumni. We are excited for Opening Day in the spring.”
With the program officially staying put, the Bowling Green State coaching staff now has the tough task of reeling back in an entire roster that entered the transfer portal. In our latest Transfer Tracker Update, the Falcons had 29 players in the portal with six departed or committed to other programs.
Jake Wilson left the program as a graduate transfer when the season ended and before the program was dropped and is expected to remain committed to Liberty. However, five other Falcons are currently committed elsewhere — Nick Neibauer (Miami, Ohio), Mason Kolean (Connecticut), Jay Ward (UTSA), Trent Farquhar (Michigan State) and Jeremy Spezia (Grand Valley State). None of those five players are graduate transfers, but it does not matter. We spoke with the NCAA on Thursday, who confirmed that any player who enters the transfer portal before the fall semester begins is allowed to transfer without sitting out.
Bowling Green’s decision to keep baseball has other college baseball-related ramifications. BGSU athletic director Bob Moosbrugger was a member of the Division I Baseball Selection Committee. However, he would have been removed from the committee had the Falcons indeed stuck with their decision to drop baseball. He will stay on the committee with the university keeping baseball.
Bowling Green’s positive news serves as a potential pathway for a program like Furman to keep its program intact, too, Furman is a private school with plenty of influential alumni more than capable of raising $1.5 million or more to keep the program going. BG becomes the second MAC program in the last decade to bring back baseball in relatively short order. Akron dropped its program back in 2015, only to bring it back five years later.
The hard work is done for Bowling Green’s baseball program. The fundraising goals have been met. But now the program must find a long-term solution, while also finding a way to get the necessary support from their administration to succeed at the highest level in the MAC.
It’s a good day for BGSU, and for college baseball.