WAYNE NELSON: Timing of UND baseball announcement is embarrassing
UND players took their positions at Kraft Field at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the start of a nonconference game against South Dakota State. At 4:11 p.m., UND President Ed Schafer sent a campus-wide e-mail saying outside efforts to save the school's baseba...
UND players took their positions at Kraft Field at 4 p.m. Wednesday, the start of a nonconference game against South Dakota State.
At 4:11 p.m., UND President Ed Schafer sent a campus-wide e-mail saying outside efforts to save the school's baseball program have ended. The outside efforts to continue the sport, he said, simply would not generate enough funding to sustain the program in the long run.
Talk about timing.
Ok, let's talk about timing.
UND's timing on the announcement was bad.
UND's timing on the announcement also was callous, coming just after players had taken the field and less than a month after baseball parents and boosters began work on an effort to raise funds to save the program.
And, speaking of timing, when was UND's administration planning to inform coach Jeff Dodson and his players about Wednesday's announcement?
Apparently, that job was left up to the UND athletic department sports information staff. Dodson and his team found out shortly after the game that the program's final out will take place in roughly two weeks.
Again, great timing. Again, callous timing.
So, in less than a month, UND announced it would cut its baseball program (and men's golf) due to budget problems; then it reluctantly agreed to listen to a plan from parents and boosters that could save the program; and finally on Wednesday-less than one month after the April 12 announcement that baseball would be eliminated-it dropped the hammer again, saying there was no viable way to save the program.
The problem in this is that UND's administration gave the program false hope.
When UND athletic director Brian Faison announced the program would be cut on April 9, he said he did not want to give any false hope that the program somehow could be saved.
A few days later, however, on April 20, UND President Ed Schafer left the door open for the continuation of the program, implying baseball could continue if enough outside funds were raised.
There was hope. UND baseball backers needed to raise more than $530,000 by late this summer to run the program for the 2016 season.
And UND implied that the best way to ensure the program's long-term success would be to establish a $13.2 million endowment.
But we'll never know if UND backers would have been able to raise the $530,000. We'll never know if the endowment could have been secured.
In reality, both were long-shot possibilities. But both should have had the chance to succeed-or fail.
All along, it's pretty clear that the UND administration didn't want baseball to survive. UND's administration simply gave false hope to those who wanted to at least try and save the program.
And the timing of it all was embarrassing.
Baseball is a game of timing. If baseball teaches UND anything about the sport, hopefully it's timing.
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