Baseball is back at Bowling Green State University.
The athletics department released a statement Tuesday afternoon, announcing it is reinstating the program after alumni and friends raised $1.5 million.
“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,” the statement said. “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. 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,” the statement said.
It was announced on Monday that university administrators had tentatively agreed to a three-year commitment.
Baseball was dropped as a team sport by BGSU on May 15. The move was part of several reductions to cut $2 million from the athletics budget and $27 million overall from the university budget, due to the coronavirus crisis.
Alex D. Solis, deputy chief of staff and university spokesperson, said in a statement that discussions are continuing.
Andy Tracy and dozens of other former players started a campaign shortly after the baseball program was cut to raise funds to bring the program back.
“It just shows that there has been really good dialogue between the administration and the alumni base,” he said on Monday.
Tracy, a former professional baseball player, is currently the head coach at the Class AAA Columbus Clippers.
While Save BGSU Baseball was initially working toward a five-year commitment at $750,000 per year, BGSU has worked with the group and reduced this to a three-year, on-going commitment to fund BGSU baseball at $500,000 per year, the letter to supporters stated.
The university has confirmed that 100% of this money will go exclusively to BGSU baseball, the letter stated.
The specifics for the structure to an agreement:
1. The group needs to gain a three-year commitment of $1.5 million at $500,000 per year. This three-year commitment will continue in perpetuity, as each year we will need to continue to show a minimum of $500,000 funded for the upcoming year and a 3-year commitment total of at least $1.5 million. This will ensure that no BGSU baseball athlete or coach will ever again be put in a position like what occurred on May 15.
2. In addition to gaining this three-year commitment at $500,000 per year, the group will need to receive payment of the first year’s commitment, $500,000 in total, within 30 days of meeting our goal and reaching final agreement with BGSU.
“While we have received commitments for nearly $1.5 million over a 5-year period, we need to accelerate these funds to a three-year commitment,” the letter state.
The letter also detailed the action plan to gain agreement to reinstate BGSU baseball:
1. Donors should revisit their contribution commitment, reconfirm and accelerate, where possible, the amount they are willing to contribute for the next three years, knowing that the group will need to receive the first year’s funds within 30 days of meeting our goal for first year and three-year commitments.
Email the first year and three-year commitment to email@example.com. Even if donors have already made a five-year commitment, another email needs to be sent with the first-year and three-year commitments.
2. Reach out to others to communicate the plan.
“We are ever so close to reaching our goal of getting BGSU baseball reinstated, and would welcome and appreciate your assistance with this push to gain a final agreement from BGSU,” the letter stated.