Cal Baptist University has announced that they will discontinue their men’s volleyball program, effective immediately. The move comes in preparation for the school’s plan to join the Western Athletic Conference and transition into NCAA Division I status, as was announced Monday. The school will also add a women’s beach volleyball program “in the near future,” according to Director of Athletics Dr. Micah Parker.
“Decisions to discontinue a program are never easy,” Parker stated. “As we look at the long-term future of our athletics department, however, we feel this decision is needed based on budgetary and competitive factors as CBU moves toward D-I status.”
Parker says that Cal Baptist will honor scholarships for current student-athletes until their eligibility would have lapsed, and incoming freshman will have the option to accept their scholarship for one year. Players who wish to transfer will be immediately released.
“We want to do whatever we can do to help our men’s volleyball student-athletes continue their athletic and academic careers, whether that be finishing their academic degrees at CBU or at another institution,” he added.
This is a reversal of national trends that has seen men’s volleyball participation in the NCAA grow by 86% over the last 15 years – though most of that has been at the Division III level.
CBU’s men’s team finished 8-21 last season, including just 2-16 in the MPSF for last place. In men’s volleyball, NCAA Division II and Division I teams compete jointly, so the transition to Division I wouldn’t have impacted CBU’s level of competition in this sport, specifically. The WAC does not sponsor men’s volleyball, though the MPSF is splitting into two conferences next season – with the Big West adding sponsorship of the sport.
Cal Baptist were members of the NAIA through the 2011 season, which included 8 NAIA national titles. By 2013-2014, they had become full-fledged NCAA Division II members, though they were never able to recapture the same level of success as they had in the NAIA. In 6 seasons of NCAA men’s volleyball, they had a winning record just twice, earning a combined 60-112 record.
Parker says that no schedule has been set for CBU to begin their women’s beach volleyball program.