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(6-1-17) – This week Wright State-Lake Campus athletic department announced that it would terminate two of its five sports teams.  The two sports teams were both women’s sports, volleyball and softball.  The announcement came as a surprise to many involved in both programs.

The following reply to SSN’s email request to the school on the current situation goes a little more in-depth than what the Tweet on Twitter supplied:

Trent Kline WSU-Lake Campus Director – Athletics & Intramurals

Wright State University – Lake Campus has chosen to suspend the operations of its volleyball and softball programs for the 2017-18 school year. To be fiscally responsible, in a difficult fiscal climate where no budgets are being increased for 2017-18, the operations of three sports as opposed to five are much better suited and proportional to our small enrollment size. Volleyball was a sport that was suspended due to its lack of on-court success over the previous seasons, while softball was chosen due to an ongoing lack of participation, coupled with the resignation of the current head coach. The Athletic Department believes, after making these difficult cuts for the 2017-18 school year, it will be better positioned to succeed in the coming year and, ultimately, thrive in the future.

Thanks and Go Lakers!

Not answered in the above statement was questions about-

  • What happens to those student- who had committed to playing next season?
  • Is Title IX an issue?

WSU-Lake Volleyball Coach Michelle Hardesty talked about her program in an email to our request:

  • I was notified last Tuesday, May 23 and given until Thursday evening, May 25 to notify the team.
  • Reasons I was given was budget issues and how much it cost for the baseball team to attend the National Tournament… a much deserved honor.   Mr. Kline did not ever mention anything about “lack of success”….  which I’ve recently been informed that he is using as an excuse to “suspend” volleyball.
  • We had plenty of athletes in place for each season prior to 2017-18 and for the upcoming season.
  • I’m unable to answer this… as far as I know they will continue as Lake Campus students (student-athletes who committed to softball and volleyball).

I was hired in July 2015, one month prior to the season beginning.  At that interview I shared my thoughts that it would take 3-5 years to get this program started, and bring in quality recruits. I also asked for patience and support during this time. The Lake Campus had not been known for quality athletics, it would take  time to get the word out that we were growing athletically and academically. We are entering our 3rd year, and recently signed an Honorable Mention All-Ohio setter, as well as several other quality players for the 2017 roster.   The 2015 roster consisted of students/players that were already attending the Lake Campus, there was no recruiting involved or possible.  It was a challenging season.  In addition to a several local girls, the 2016 roster included 3 girls from Arizona.  Again, as we anticipated another challenging season but the success was beginning to form as we added a few wins and were very competitive on the court.  The 2016 Lakers volleyball schedule was ranked 9 among the top 10 toughest schedules in the USCAA, and competed with several of the teams that went on to compete in the National Championship.

Suspending the volleyball program completely damages all the work put in over the last two years.   Our potential recruiting list included 16 for 2018 and 6 for 2019 with on-going communication with several other potential recruits.

In the public statement is was said that these programs were being suspended due to participation issues makes no sense.  The women’s basketball team had 5 players, with an occasional pick up player through-out last season…. 5.   Their scores were embarrassing, but every program has to start somewhere.

We were “rounding 3rd and heading for home” with this program.   I’ve received amazing public support regarding this situation via phone calls, texts, social media etc…. it’s really sad and too bad that this is happening.

Some of the recruits signed for next season-

WSU-Lake Volleyball

WSU-Lake Softball

The Lakers baseball team this season advanced to the USCAA National Championships, the other two sports that are still  active are Men’s and Women’s Basketball. The USCAA membership is new to the athletic department, in the past WSU-Lake Campus competed against other statewide branch campus programs like OSU-Lima.

BGSU Director of Athletics- Bob Moosbrugger
BGSU Director of Athletics- Bob Moosbrugger

Financial issues are not new to college athletic programs at any level, in a recent www.bcsn.tv story, Celina grad and current Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger at DI Bowling Green State University faces the same problems:

“But as an institution, there isn’t any room for debt. … We have to be fiscally prudent.”

“Every dollar matters.”

Moosbrugger also told bcsn.tv that he was not interested in cutting sports like fellow MAC school Akron and Buffalo have done. Instead he hopes alumni will help close the financial gap.

Related stories:

 

A LOOK BACK AT WSU-Lake Campus Athletics

The very first women’s volleyball team at WSU-Lake, when it was still the Western Ohio Branch Campus.

1984 WOBC VB Team
1984 WOBC VB Team

1984 WOBC VB Story

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