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Maggard: Major changes not expected at UL or in Sun Belt

Posted at 9:43 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 23:48:45-04

Friday, Bowling Green shut down its baseball team. A difficult decision made by a school whose athletic director is not only a former Bowling Green baseball player, but sits on the NCAA Division I baseball committee.

The Falcons become just another coronavirus casualty. Akron cut cross country, men's golf and women's tennis this week, the University of Cincinnati cut soccer in April. The Mid-American Conference (MAC) has been particularly aggressive in cost-cutting measures, eliminating eight conference championships this week, including men's and women's basketball.

Could those measures come to Lafayette or the Sun Belt? Dr. Bryan Maggard says no.

While all conferences and schools look to recoup lost funds, he said eliminating sports and conference tournaments have never been items on the menu.

"We're in a day and time where decisions have to be made to suit the decision makers. It's disappointing," Maggard said. "I'm disappointed for those programs and student athletes and coaches involved. These are tough times and difficult decisions have to be made."

Maggard pointed a finger at the scheduling, where many of the most visible changes will come. Volleyball, for example, will move to divisional scheduling, slashing conference matches, which will be replaced with regional non-conference meetings. The idea isn't less games, it's less flights. Less cross country flights in all sports could become part of Sun Belt scheduling for years as teams try to get out of the red.

Dr. Maggard said he couldn't guess how long these changes would last, and the uncertainty of college football complicates matters. While he was optimistic that football would be played, he understands playing without fans would have a serious impact, as smaller conferences rely on ticket sales far more than power five schools.

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