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Richter: Don't look for baseball comeback at UW

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THOMAS J. MILLER
April 9, 2008

For those of you hoping to someday see a University of Wisconsin baseball team return, donít hold your breath.


At least that is what former UW Athletic Director Pat Richter believes.


Richter was the guest speaker at the Salvation Armyís Tin Cup Luncheon at the Rotary Gardens on Tuesday afternoon.


Weather and financial considerations are the reasons baseball likely wonít make a return.


ďIt would be very difficult under the current circumstances,Ē Richter said in an interview after his luncheon speech. ďThe Big Ten schedule starts around the third week of March and finishes around the second week of May.


ďThe other thing, probably the biggest issue, is that if you added a sport, you have to add a womenís sport comparable in size and dollars. Then you have the ripple effect in that in academics and medical issues.Ē


The decision to cut baseball came during Richterís reign as athletic director. Title IX regulations require a balance of dollars spent on both the menís and womenís sports ledgers. Having a football program tips the scale heavily on the menís side and schools were forced to either add womenís sports and/or cut menís sports.


The Wisconsin decision came in 1991, with the school facing an athletic department deficit of $1.9 million. The school dropped baseball, menís and womenís gymnastics and menís and womenís fencing. At that time, the school had 11 menís varsity sports and nine womenís.


Behind Richterís guidance and the turnaround of the football program with the hire of Barry Alvarez as coach, the athletic department erased that deficit and is on stable ground.


The school now has 11 menís varsity teams and 13 womenís.


While Wisconsin is the only Big Ten school without a baseball program, the sport isnít flourishing in the conference. Michigan is the only Big Ten team in Baseball Americaís Top 25. The Wolverines are ranked 17th.


ďAnd if you look at the RPI (ratings power index), which is most important, I donít think the Big Ten has anybody in the top 25,Ē Richter said. ďThatís what gets you into the tournaments. You go down to Arizona to start the season and come back with a 2-11 record and your RPI is shot.Ē


Richter also said attendance was poor when the UW did have baseball.



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