In my last blog I listed the Division I schools that I’m aware of that do not sponsor college softball programs. The list of reasons I have heard over the years falls on deaf ears now. I honestly, do not believe the excuses hold up anymore.
What I hope for is that all schools come to their senses and offer softball. There are many reasons why I’m holding out hope. The most important is that this game needs to be offered at all schools so that all student athletes who want to play can have the opportunity at the school they choose.
There are some striking similarities though among the list that makes you shake your head.
Very strong academic institutions: It seems that Fastpitch is one of the most academically strong groups of potential athletes out there today. There are many, many academically gifted softball players looking for a chance to play. It would make way too much sense for strong academic schools to offer a sport that has a bunch of great students dying to play it!
Softball hotbeds: The list of schools that don’t offer Fastpitch as a varsity sport include some very strong softball areas. Nashville (Vanderbilt), Cincinnati, Texas (Rice and SMU), Miami are all areas where there is a plethora of great softball prospects.
Lone wolf: How can one school be a hold out in a conference like the SEC or PAC? These schools have money to burn thanks to their TV conference contracts. The cost of starting softball just does not hold up. Fastpitch may cost more than bowling, or lack the huge numbers of rowing, but these schools have the cash.
Basketball history: Many of the schools that lack softball programs are basketball powerhouses. West Virginia, Cincinnati, Marquette are all big spenders on basketball. You have schools with NCAA titles in basketball that fail to field softball teams. If we can win big in basketball, it seems that softball would be a nice addition.
So let’s get the ball rolling! Write, call, post, call for change. These schools need to hear from the Fastpitch community. Keep bugging them and something good could happen. It’s very exciting to see Duke and Clemson coming to their senses but I would be willing to bet that it happened because people pushed! Just saying!
About the Author: Tory Acheson brings a wealth of knowledge to the Fastpitch Prep staff. He has coached at all levels of the game, including the last 25 years at the college level at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside, Tennessee Tech and Kennesaw State. He began his coaching career at the high school level spending 9 years Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis. and is now working as a professional softball instructor.
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