Cutting baseball ends tradition

Alex Entz/Business Manager

Recently, the decision came down from the higher-ups in the UNI hierarchy. The truth was there, in front of me: UNI baseball, rich in tradition if not titles, had been cut.

The saga of UNI Baseball guarantees that no sport is safe in the current climate of heady budget cuts.
No matter whether the program has been around for nine years or 103 years-nay, Title IX and mistaken public officials have decided to re-write the traditional rules.

In place of spreading the cuts around to various sports, UNI decided to cut the one of the oldest programs in the United States, let alone Iowa.

Without question, UNI Baseball has been a major program around the campus for over a hundred years. Rick Heller, the UNI Baseball coach, runs several annual programs to help out baseball athletes from around the state.
His expertise and the effect he had in shaping numerous varsity baseball players was either not taken into account or underestimated.

Spreading the cuts around to the different sports, particularly to travel expenses incurred by sports bringing in little money (women’s tennis, women’s golf, cross country) would have worked much better than cutting such a revered sport. UNI claimed its competitive edge could be damaged, but the cuts have little to do with the quality of players UNI currently has. By spreading the cuts across the board, UNI could have saved baseball and a lot of hard feelings to boot. Baseball is America’s sport, not soccer, or tennis, or volleyball.

These sports bring in far less than baseball (nearly $100,000). Not only do they play a small role in the community, they are younger and far more expendable than a 103-year old program glorifying America’s greatest game.
Then the casual observer sees Title IX come into play. The decision was partly shaped because UNI’s women student-male student ratio (57-43) to the women athlete-male athlete ratio (39-61) necessitated the cutting of a male sport.
Reverse discrimination at its finest, this shows just how handcuffed colleges have become by this rule. Despite the realities presented above, and the fact that UNI carries nine women’s sports to what will be six men’s, UNI baseball still got the short end of the bat.

The nail seemingly in its coffin, UNI Baseball has only a few more months to capitalize on what will likely be their last season. To the community: I urge you to go out to Riverfront Stadium this season and show your support for this ailing program, if for no other reason than simply to pay your respects to an ancient franchise.
The cutting of such a tradition greatly saddens me and my fellow baseball fans.

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