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Southern Utah Thunderbirds Discontinue Baseball Program

Devon TeepleAnalyst IJanuary 25, 2012

It’s very difficult to write about baseball teams that discontinue their program, but unfortunately that’s the nature of the beast. 

The Southern Utah Thunderbirds will cancel their program before the move to the Big Sky Conference in 2012-2013 academic year. 

“The University's pending move to the Big Sky Conference, coupled with the need to redirect resources to add men's tennis, precipitated the decision to eliminate baseball," SUU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ken Beazer said in a press release.

It should be mentioned that baseball is not a sponsored sport by the Big Sky Conference, but does require men’s tennis “as a core sport for the 2012-13 academic year.” 

This is not the first team to lose its programs within recent years. Other teams to cut programs in recent years include Cleveland State, Duquesne, Northern Iowa and Vermont.

It’s not as if this is a stumbling first-year program. The program which grew from its junior college days has been in the NCAA since 1988. Southern Utah never advanced past the conference tournament, had above-average seasons for the past five years and had 13 players drafted since 1974.

However, a move to a new conference following the end of this season blows my mind. 

Higher powers are involved, and many factors, no doubt, went in to the decision, but for the moment the program is still alive. Let’s hope the Thunderbirds go out on a high note and give their fans something to remember.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals and Gateway Grizzlies. He is now an independent scout.

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