Madison, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin has a rich history of athletic excellence, but one sport has been conveniently missing from its roster for far too long: baseball.
Former Wisconsin Badgers athletic director Pat Richter was forced to cut the baseball program out in 1991 due to Title IX complaints over the disparity between men’s and women’s scholarships, coupled with the fact he inherited a budget that was $2 million in debt.
Wisconsin baseball won Big Ten championships in 1902, 1912, 1930, 1946, and 1950 but failed to win another title in its final 41 seasons. That said, UW is the only B1G program (out of 14) not to have a varsity baseball team, and it needs to be corrected at some point in my lifetime.
Curious to see how this plays out. I know what I’m voting for🤷🏽♂️
— Connor Essegian (@CEssegian) June 2, 2023
The move was understandable at the time, but it’s been three decades, and the landscape of college athletics is in a completely different arena than in the early ’90s, especially at Wisconsin. UW has thriving football, men’s basketball, and women’s volleyball + hockey programs. So I have no reason to believe the money isn’t there (especially from recent TV contracts) to kickstart the reboot.
Now that Chris McIntosh is in the big seat at the University of Wisconsin, it’s time to reevaluate bringing back the Badgers baseball program and give the people what they want.
Why the University of Wisconsin Should Bring Back Baseball
First and foremost, baseball is a sport that has deep roots in American culture. It is known as America’s pastime, and for good reason. The game uniquely brings together people from all walks of life, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie that is unmatched by almost any other sport.
By bringing back its baseball program, the University of Wisconsin would allow its students, alums, and fans to come together and celebrate the game they love. But it wouldn’t be without its fair share of challenges.
Constructing a competitive roster would undoubtedly take time. However, Wisconsin baseball at the prep level has made significant strides. There are now several noteworthy developmental academies across the state, such as Silver Sluggers Academy, GRB, and Prospect Training Academy.
Additionally, UW-Milwaukee is the only D1 program within the state, so building a wall around the state would be an excellent place to start. For reference, 24 players accepted division one scholarships in the previous two in-state classes, and 218 received opportunities to play at the next level. There’s plenty of talent within the state to build around.
There is also a community college hotbed like Madison College right in its backyard, which has turned out countless division one talents after some additional seasoning. The ability to scout talent and develop relationships with potential recruits, coupled with the academic transfer program, could make for an easy transition to the University of Wisconsin.
Of course, there are practical considerations to be taken into account when considering the return of a college sports program. But I believe the benefits of bringing back the University of Wisconsin baseball program far outweigh any potential challenges.
With the right resources and support, the program could thrive and become a source of pride and excitement for the entire Badgers community.
BRING. BASEBALL. BACK.
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