Baton Rouge –
Tuesday, LSU Tigers head baseball coach Paul Mainieri spoke with Luke Johnson of the Louisiana Advocate about collegiate athletic departments cutting baseball from their list of programs.
A 38-year veteran in the sport, Mainieri was far from optimistic on the future of the game for many schools, shedding a harsh sense of reality on what may be coming.
“My concern was then, and now it’s proving to be a proper concern: Are universities going to say it’s not worth sponsoring a baseball program?”
Mainieri played baseball at city (UNO) and state (LSU) institutions, and he played junior-college ball (Miami-Dade North Community College) before getting into the coaching ranks.
Though little league and youth baseball programs have already started to crank back up again, the lasting effects of the COVID-19 crisis on college baseball are just beginning, per the Tigers’ head coach.
“If there’s less teams out there playing, then youngsters in single-digit ages, maybe they direct their energies toward another sport instead of falling in love with baseball.”
When asked by The Advocate to put the lingering damages into perspective, Mainieri speculated 100 baseball programs could see the plug get pulled.
“I would tell my friends I’m afraid there are going to be 100 college baseball programs discontinued because of this virus,” Mainieri said. “I hope I’m wrong, but I’m afraid we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.”
Luckily for LSU, the Tigers are one of the few baseball programs in America to generate a consistent amount of revenue. While the purple and gold may be just fine holding out until 2021, the sport could look a lot different without smaller and more under the radar programs such as Furman and Bowling Green.
Make sure to stay tuned to Southern Slams for the latest coverage on everything COVID-19 related concerning college baseball.