Calling it an unexpected opportunity, Indiana University South Bend Chancellor Terry L. Allison announced today that baseball will be offered as a varsity sport next fall. The opportunity arose when Holy Cross College in South Bend made the decision to discontinue baseball after the season ends this spring. Holy Cross is reorganizing its eleven intercollegiate sport athletic program to put additional resources into academics and producing job-ready graduates.
IU South Bend and Holy Cross College are both members of the Chicagoland Conference of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). IU South Bend will be able to replace Holy Cross College on the schedule next season.
Adding sports teams is part of the strategic plan for IU South Bend. “Varsity athletic programs bring new students to campus, and those students tend to be successful in the classroom and graduate,” said Allison. IU South Bend currently has teams for men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball, and had already planned to add men’s and women’s cross country and men’s golf to its athletics program in the fall.
Allison says tuition revenue from incoming new students to play baseball at IU South Bend will fully fund the program and provide additional resources for the campus. “We are fortunate to be able to add a sport in this way,” said Allison. “We get to bring an established, high quality program to IU South Bend.” IU South Bend Director of Athletics and Activities Steve Bruce is working on arrangements for the team to practice and play at baseball fields near the campus.
Allison talked with Holy Cross College President Brother John Paige about the plan, which Paige supports. The athletic directors at both schools also discussed the plan and exchanged information. Allison consulted with the IU South Bend Chancellor’s Cabinet, the Academic Senate Athletics Committee, and the Senate Executive Committee and received positive recommendations. The Academic Senate will make its recommendation at its next meeting.
Allison said IU South Bend is making arrangements to hire Holy Cross College head baseball coach Brian Blondell who may bring players with him.
Athletes at IU South Bend are among the best academically performing students on campus. The existing three teams finished with a grade point average above 3.0 last year, and the women’s basketball team was 5th in the NAIA with a 3.58 team GPA.