In light of the current state of the economy, California Baptist University is discontinuing its men’s and women’s tennis programs effective immediately, Kent Dacus, CBU Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, announced Monday.
The cuts are expected to help offset the impact of the potential loss of state financial aid for students recently proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“It is with great regret that California Baptist University has made the difficult decision to discontinue its men’s and women’s tennis programs,” said Dacus. “These are extraordinary times in higher education with troubles in the state, national and global economy causing so much uncertainty. It is because of this uncertainty that the CBU leadership felt it was prudent to reduce expenses in the area of athletics to help us meet the challenges of a rapidly changing market place.”
Dacus said student athletes in the discontinued programs are welcome to remain at CBU. He added the university will try to help those who wish to continue playing collegiate tennis get placed at other schools.
The decision reduces the number of intercollegiate sports offered by CBU to 20, which is still the most among athletic programs in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC). Biola University is next with 17, while both Azusa Pacific University and Fresno Pacific University sponsor 16 sports.
“Despite this action, CBU will continue to offer a very strong athletics program and we expect great things with the remaining 20 teams and approximately 400 student athletes,” said Dacus.
This past year, the Lancer men finished 19-3 overall, 14-2 GSAC. The Lancers played in the NAIA National Championships for the second straight year, advancing to the semifinals for the first time ever. They spent the entire season in the top five of the NAIA, reaching a program-best No. 2 before finishing the season at No. 4. They were 13-3 against nationally-ranked teams. Four players were named NAIA All-American, including junior Alessandro Ventre, who was named to the first team for the third straight year.
The Lancer women won a school-record 17 matches, going 17-8. They finished tied for third in the GSAC at 13-5 and spent the entire season ranked in the NAIA Top 10. For the second straight year, they advanced to the NAIA National Tournament, losing, 5-4, in the round of 16 to Lindsey Wilson (KY).
CBU enjoyed a banner campaign this past season, winning a pair of national championships. The Lancers won their fourth straight NAIA Championship in men’s swimming and diving and then collected their first-ever national title in softball. Currently, the Lancers are fifth in the 2008-09 Learfield Sports Director’s Cup Standings with 692.5 points, 136 of which came from tennis. The final standings, which will include baseball, will be released June 19.