The Duquesne Dukes lost their Sunday home game to the Temple Owls 8-3. Unfortunately, it is the last home game the Duquesne baseball program will ever play. The baseball program is being eliminated, along with men's swimming, wrestling, and golf, in order to strengthen other athletic programs.
Several players will continue to play baseball for other college programs. The former Dukes will be able to play immediately next season. Sophopmore catcher Rick Devereaux will attend Pitt next season. Freshman pitcher Robert Corsi will play for Rutgers in 2011. Sophomore relief pitcher Jim Devine will move cross-state to play for Temple next year.
A few other players hope to walk on to other Division I programs.
The move to eliminate four major athletic programs has been named a "strategic restructuring" by Duquesne's brass. The school has said that more than $1 million will be saved by eliminating baseball, swimming, wrestling, and golf. Apparently, the $1 million will help the school's other athletic programs.
Why eliminate the programs now?
Duquesne is a Division I school, a mid-major who is not known well outside of Pittsburgh. The economy is bad right now, and money is tight. But why eliminate four programs in order to save two or three?
Duquesne football will not be eliminated. Football was never the strong point for Duquesne, as they started out as a club team, played Division I for a short period of time, then became a club team again, and played Division III football from 1979-1992. In 1993, Duquesne football was granted the chance to become a Division I football school, playing in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
The football program has never been ranked for an entire season, has only finished in a ranking higher than No. 10 once (1941, No. 8 final ranking in AP poll), and hasn't been ranked for 68 years.
Now, rankings are definitely not the only thing that matter in college football, but the Duquesne football program has not produced nearly the amount of NFL players as cross-town rival Pittsburgh has. The football team has an all-time winning percentage of .754, but the football program has only made it to two BCS bowl games (1934 and 1937, both Orange Bowls).
Surprisingly, no women's sports will be eliminated. It is possible that Duquesne feared being accused of sexism if they would have eliminated a women's sport.
The soccer team will not be eliminated. Not to bash soccer, but I know for a fact that more Americans care about baseball than soccer.
Cross country and other track & field events will not be disbanded, as it is relatively cheap to pay for cross country and track competitions.
So was the baseball program slighted? Was baseball still deserving of a program at Duquesne?
Well, maybe wrestling has a better case not to be eliminated. The wrestling program has been immensely successful, and the baseball program hasn't performed well this season. The Dukes are currently 15-38 with a 9-15 record in the A-10.
And as you can see, the school's decision was not about history, it was about current problems. The football team hasn't been ranked in 68 years, and Duquesne's baseball program beat ranked Pittsburgh last week.
Baseball is America's pastime, but, unfortunately, it will no longer take place at Duquesne University.