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Boise State to cut baseball, swimming and diving due to the economic effects of COVID-19

Boise State announced their decision to discontinue its baseball and women’s swimming and diving programs due to financial budget cuts from COVID-19. According to ESPN, they are the first school in the Mountain West to do so.

The decision was announced on July 2 in a video conference headed by President Marlene Tromp and Athletic Director Curt Apsey.

“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 in his statement. 

Cutting the two sports will save Boise State roughly $2.3 million, according to Aspey. 

“The pandemic has made a challenging financial situation unsustainable,” Tromp said. ”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.”

Student-athletes from both teams have made an effort to raise funds in order to revive the programs. The Baseball team’s GoFundMe has raised over $61,000 while the swimming and diving team’s Delaney Phillips has created a google docs form where donors can pledge money.

The swimming and diving program that is only offered to women was able to finish their 2020 season and compete in the Zone E National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships. Boise State recorded two top 30 finishes on the one-meter springboard. The team has won four Mountain West championships since 2011.

The Boise State baseball team played 14 games in its 2020 campaign. The 2019-20 season was the first time since 1980 that the university fielded a baseball team.

Under Head Coach Gary Van Tol, the Boise State baseball team played 14 games in its 2020 campaign. The 2019-20 season was the first time the university fielded a baseball team since 1980.

Players for both programs enrolled at Boise State with the expectations of playing for the school. Boise State will honor all scholarships given to the student-athletes who played for the two programs if they wish to stay at the university, including all student-athletes that were signed in the 2020 season.

Under NCAA regulations all student-athletes are eligible to enter the transfer portal and compete for their next school. A handful of Boise State student-athletes are pursuing the option.

Boise State’s first official recruit to the baseball team Kase Ogata, thought that the team was a success, but felt blindsided by the decision.

“We believed in ourselves and got out to a good start. You know it’s just unfortunate. We don’t really know what to say. We’re just upset and obviously mad,” said Ogata in an interview with KTVB. “I would call it a success because all of us got better and couldn’t have had a better coaching staff, and a better coach and father in Gary.”.

Boise State is not the only Division I school that has made the decision to cut an athletic program, or programs, in order to conserve funds. Akron, Appalachian State, Cincinnati, University of Connecticut and others have all cut at least one of its own athletic programs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stanford University is the only one of the Power 5 schools to cut 11 of its 36 varsity sports programs due to financial cuts from COVID-19, thus far. 

Other sports programs at BSU could be on the chopping block if the financial burden of the virus continues.

“If there is not a football season, college athletics is going to look very different going forward, especially schools of our size,” Apsey said.

During the conference, Apsey was asked questions regarding the financial impact of Boise State not being able to play a college football season.

“We generate about 70% of our revenue to basically back our (athletic) program,” Apsey said.

In documents obtained by the Idaho Statesman through a public records request, Apsey’s claim appears to be correct.

Boise State reported that all men’s sports, excluding football and basketball, produced $2,240 in ticket sales and $798,347 in total revenue during the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

In 2018-19, the football team generated the most money for the athletic program with $24,683,041 in total revenue. Men’s basketball came in second with $5,146,161 and the numbers do not include donations which are also considerably driven by the teams.

The same report showed that the only profitable sports at Boise State are the football and men’s basketball teams.

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