Last May, CBU’s Athletics Department publicly announced that as the entire program transitions to the Western Athletic Conference and NCAA Division I status, it would be discontinuing the men’s volleyball team starting immediately and that it will also integrate women’s beach volleyball as an intercollegiate sport in the near future.
In the original press release posted on the Athletic Department’s website on May 8, Dr. Micah Parker, director of Athletics, said, “Decisions to discontinue a program are never easy. As we look at the long-term future of our Athletics Department, however, we feel this decision is needed based on budgetary and competitive factors as CBU moves toward D-I status.”
While it is an exciting transition for CBU’s sports to move forward in the athletic world, the cut of the men’s volleyball team has left a handful of men without a team to play for this coming season.
However, as also stated by Parker in the official press release, CBU will continue to honor scholarships for students who were affected by this decision. In addition, students who had been recruited for the 2018 season will have the option of receiving their scholarship offer for one year.
Former players who chose to remain at CBU will continue to have access to Academic and Sports Medicine facilities.
In the press release, Parker said, “We want to do whatever we can do to help our men’s volleyball student-athletes continue their athletic and academic careers, whether that be finishing their academic degrees at CBU or at another institution.”
Kévin Vaz, senior business administration major and former middle blocker and opposite, was one of the athletes unable to find a spot on a team at another university.
“I definitely thought about transferring,” Vaz said. “I have a tremendous love for the game. But with CBU making this decision with such short notice (…) it was tough for any of my teammates to find a new home.”
However, Philip Schick, former CBU student and former middle blocker for the volleyball team, was able to transfer to Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee to continue playing volleyball during the remainder of his academic career.
Even though Schick has transferred, he said he will miss the friends he made on the men’s volleyball team.
“My favorite thing about being on the volleyball team was the friendships I had made,” Schick said. “I always had their backs and I know they always had mine. It’s tough that we won’t be able to experience this anymore.”
As the school begins transitioning to Division I, the Athletic Department is sure to experience some changes.
Dr. Ronald L. Ellis, president of CBU, acknowledges the change CBU has to adjust to but said he looks forward to the future of CBU athletics.
“Progress usually involves change and adjusting to new situations,” Ellis said. “An example of that is CBU progressing to NCAA Division I and joining the Western Athletic Conference. We are excited about the opportunity this presents for Lancer athletics to compete at the highest levels of collegiate athletics.”
With regard to the men’s volleyball team, the Athletic Department had no further comment than what was stated in the press release.
As CBU loses one athletic program, it gains another through the inclusion of a women’s beach volleyball team in the near future.
Parker said he expects to hire a head coach for women’s beach volleyball in the summer of 2018, then recruit players and other staff in the 2018-2019 academic year and begin competing in the 2019-2020 school year, tentatively.
“This is a sport that has grown in popularity and notoriety over the last few years,” Parker said. “Regionally, it is a good sport for us. It is unique and our fans and students will enjoy watching it during the spring season.”
The Athletic Department had been discussing adding another women’s sport for the last few years and expressed their excitement about incorporating women’s beach volleyball into CBU’s athletic roster. The team will not be a part of the WAC conference but will join water polo, cheer and wrestling in outside conferences.
Athletics is looking to add onto its facilities, the new Events Center being the first addition. In the future, they hope to supply the new women’s beach volleyball team with three sand courts.
While the Athletic Department eagerly anticipates the addition of the women’s beach volleyball team at CBU, athletes are coming to terms with the necessary costs of progress.