Save the Bridgewater College Men's Golf Program
This petition had 2,038 supporters
On October 6, 2020, after more than a year of planning, Dr. Bushman released his Strategic Resource Allocation (SRA) recommendations to the Board of Trustees and students. One of the plan’s recommendations was elimination of the Men’s Golf Program at the end of the spring 2021 season. If the recommendations are approved at the November 6, 2020 Board meeting, the program will cease to exist after the spring season. This recommendation came as a shock to the golf community at Bridgewater. The efforts of the team and the coaching staff to build this program into something incredible have been disregarded, and we lament that the “collaborative and transparent” process did not involve students, parents, alumni, or the broader community. We recognize there is a need for efficiency and streamlining at the College, but we do not believe cutting the men's golf program helps this process.
We seek reversal of the recommendation primarily, but not exclusively, for the reasons described below.
· This program brings in significantly more revenue through tuition than it incurs in costs.
· Men's Golf has been a part of the Bridgewater experience for over 60 years, but far from diminishing in recent years, the team was on pace (before the pandemic) to have its largest team ever, and it broke the program scoring record in 2020. Demand among prospective Bridgewater students for golf remains strong, and the current team is one of the most competitive in school history.
· In a time of challenges to enrollment (one of the main concerns stated in the SRA document), Men's Golf recruits students to Bridgewater, and many alumni as well as current players state that golf was pivotal, if not primary, in their decision to attend the school.
· The SRA process assigned all departments to quintiles, and the SRA report stated that golf was placed in the fifth quintile and recommended for elimination because it is "not cost-effective for the number of students served." But by this criteria, Men's Golf is not in the bottom quintile among Bridgewater programs. When asked about this apparent inconsistency during a student townhall, administration replied that there were "other factors," but would not say what those factors were.
· Even if Men's Golf were "not cost-effective for the number of students served," it would better serve Bridgewater, especially in the current environment, to solve that problem through cost reduction or roster expansion rather than going straight to elimination of the program as a "fix." Most current players will leave Bridgewater if the recommendation is approved, and prospective athletes will never apply to the school, making the current enrollment situation even more troublesome. We hope there are not ulterior motives in play by the administration, despite the lack of rationale for Men’s Golf to be included among programs that are no longer financially feasible. A win-win situation is certainly available if the administration is dissuaded from taking the "nuclear option."
· There has been significant support among alumni and the public since Bridgewater released the SRA document. Given that academic programs will have up to three more years to phase out, it makes sense that a successful program like Men’s Golf would be given time to pursue endowment or outside financing. According to the data it seems Men's Golf should simply retain the backing of the College and the Athletic Department, but again, if the sport is going to be singled out among varsity sports at Bridgewater, it serves everyone better to solve the cost question rather than pursue elimination.
The local Harrisonburg Daily News-Record wrote a story about the reaction to the news that the program would be cut.
In September 2020, Psychology Today published an article entitled, “Disruption, Sports, and Pandemic: How colleges are failing kids and prioritizing profit over mental health.” In this article, the writer states, “The loss of more and more athletic teams is adding undue stress to an already stressed-out adolescent population.”
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