Oct. 27, 2004
Detroit, Mich. - The University of Detroit Mercy has decided to eliminate the baseball program from its Athletic Department. University officials are still looking at ways to keep the program active for one final season, and this will be decided upon by July 1, 2004. UDM Athletic Director Brad Kinsman made the announcement today.
The discontinuation of baseball was a financial decision made in response to cost reductions across the entire University. Kinsman explained that, with the reduction of state and federal funds, all universities and colleges have met with similar difficult challenges. The UDM Board of Trustees approved on June 18, 2004 a balanced budget for fiscal year 2005.
The move will leave UDM with 16 varsity sports, seven on the men's side and nine for women. Fourth-year baseball coach Chris Czarnik along with his staff - assistants Mark Van Ameyde, Stu Rose and Al Willett - were notified of the difficult decision on Wednesday night. The players received word earlier on Thursday. The decision will allow UDM's Athletic Department to meet its financial obligations within the University.
The 22 Titan baseball players who had eligibility remaining, plus the two who have already signed letters of intent to enter the University in the fall, will be given an immediate release if they seek to play elsewhere. If they choose to remain as students at UDM, their scholarships will be honored for the 2004-05 academic year, regardless of whether the varsity team remains active.
"Financial pressures on the Athletic Department have increased. Many institutions across the country have taken similar action. No athletic director wants to see a program cut," Kinsman maintained, "but we had to address a number of issues, without delay. My heart goes out to the players and coaches affected by this decision, as well as to the alumni of our baseball program. They have been a dedicated group and they've represented us well over the years."
"This decision has been made in response to the financial pressures facing the University, and our Athletic Department also had pressing issues regarding the quality of our programs and gender equity," Kinsman added. "One option was to consider a dramatic downsizing within our administrative staff, which would have affected the quality of our entire program. The other involved dropping more than one sport. We have chosen a combination of the two alternatives to meet the required cost reductions and made the decision to drop this particular sport."
"I felt the baseball coaching staff has done an outstanding job given the resources they were provided. They also did an excellent job in raising funds to augment their budget. This is a difficult action today, but hopefully it will help secure our long-term future as a Division I Athletic Department," Kinsman said. "We think we will be able to concentrate on our remaining 16 sports to bring them to the level of excellence one would expect of a quality program."