Furman University eliminates baseball, men’s lacrosse due to COVID-19 pandemic

Jun 18, 2016; Omaha, NE, USA; The College World Series logo is seen behind the plate at the 2016 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The hits keep on coming for universities across the country. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to deliver crushing financial hits to college programs across the country, Furman University became the latest to eliminate some of its sports programs.

Furman President Elizabeth Davis announced Monday that the university will eliminate its baseball program and men’s lacrosse team immediately. As part of the financial cuts, the university will also reduce salaries for the president and senior administrators and implement furloughs.

The Paladins, a member of the Southern Conference, have seen several of their former stars play professional baseball. Among them, former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Jerry Martin and former MLB catcher Rick Wilkins. Jay Jackson, who played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, is the most recent alumnus to make it to the majors.

Furman’s baseball team posted a 26-31 record during the 2019 season and started the year 8-9 before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down collegiate sports. The men’s lacrosse team posted a 1-6 record to begin its 2020 season, defeating Hampton 19-4 on Feb. 8.

As a result of the moves, Furman anticipates it will save $5 million annually through the reductions. The university estimates 95 student-athletes and six coaches will be impacted by the loss of baseball and men’s lacrosse, with 21 of them on scholarship.

Furman will honor the scholarships to current and incoming student-athletes in both sports and assistant those seeking to transfer. In the statement, Davis also announced the athletic department will likely eliminate 45 scholarships over the next five years.

Bowling Green State University recently eliminated its baseball program due to the financial crisis created by the pandemic. The University of Akron was forced to take even more dramatic steps, eliminating three sports programs immediately.

As colleges across the country experience a decline in enrollment and lose revenue from the loss of sports, there will likely be more unfortunate decisions like these.