Bacone College, an NAIA school in Muskogee, Oklahoma, has cancelled its 2018 women’s volleyball season. The school made it clear that volleyball was not one of the 7 sports that Bacone cut this summer as part of a plan to stay afloat financially, and that they do plan to bring the sport back in future years. However, after an off-season of uncertainty, including the hiring of a new athletic director, they were unable to hire a coach in time for the season.
Bacone College, formerly known as Bacone Indian University, was founded in 1880 and is the oldest continuously-operated institution of higher education in Oklahoma. They’ve recently been in trouble financially, however, and according to the Tulsa World, this summer that meant selling $5 million worth of property to fund their 2018-2019 budget. They also laid off “about 90 of the college’s 95 full-time employees,” with all but 18 expected to return in stages.
President Ferlin Clark blames mismanagement by the prior administration and natural disasters for the troubles. He says mistakes included focusing too heavily on the school’s athletics department and dropping nursing and arts programs. Past president Franklin Willis says that the school has about 100 students who owe collectively around $2 million, and were scamming the school, saying that this money was in addition to bad debt written off by the school because of its mission to educate “more vulnerable students.”
Clark announced this summer that the school was cutting football, men’s and women’s wrestling, rodeo, cheerleading, and dance. That leaves it with a program of men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, baseball, softball, track, cross country, and men’s and women’s soccer.
The volleyball team finished 2-20 in 2016, before an 8-19 record in 2017. The team has 10 total wins in the last 3 seasons combined.