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Men’s golf gets an extra two years

A fundraising campaign saved the program from getting cut outright and paves way for a gradual phase-out.   |   Courtesy of Ben Crumley

 

Biola Athletics announced on April 10 in a press release that their men’s golf program would be immediately discontinued. The news shocked nearly all of campus, including those who were impacted most.

Down, but not out

“I found out the program was recommended for phase out on March 8,” said head coach Max Allen in an email, “From my perspective there was no indication it would be cut before that.”

However, the team did not plan to go down without a fight. A meeting on April 28 between the team, several parents, Allen, athletic director Bethany Miller, vice president of enrollment management Greg Vaughan and Eagles Athletic Association director Kevin Royse discussed ways in which the program could at least have the two-year phase-out period that Allen expected. The team wanted to explore fundraising, which caught Miller and Vaughan by surprise.

“Fundraising was not my first idea or choice, but it was feasible,” Allen said in an email.

A phase-out period

Miller and Vaughan eventually agreed, and Royse, who also handles major donations for the athletic department, spearheads the effort to raise enough money to keep Biola men’s golf alive for two more years. The extended phase-out period will allow most team members to finish out their collegiate golf careers as Eagles.

To date, the program has raised nearly $60,000 of its $130,000 goal to cover all costs for the next two seasons, much to the relief of several players.

“I feel like they’re doing right by the program by phasing it out instead of just cutting the program,” said junior Tristan Ginkel.

The outpouring of support, however, did not come as a surprise to Allen.

“As I saw it, the challenge was to get the extension. Once given the go-ahead to fundraise I trusted God would come through,” Allen said in an email. “My boys and I have not been put here to be left unfulfilled.”

A lack of understanding 

Others believe the initial shock of getting cut outright could have been avoided altogether. Some players cannot understand why the university did not explore the possibility of fundraising for a phase-out sooner.

“To have [our program] back, it feels good, but I feel like this shouldn’t have ever happened in the first place,” said sophomore Dominic Aironado. “We know Biola’s doing a bunch of budget cuts across everything, [but] we heard every single one of those programs is getting a phase-out. We were the only program that got cut immediately.”

Allen will no longer recruit new players, but will maintain the same mentality with his current team in the final two years of its existence.

“Our focus and approach will be the same: to become like Christ in the pursuit of our best golf,” Allen said in an email. “What we will be mindful of is how close we came to losing it all. This experience will keep us grateful for the opportunity and motivated to take advantage of it.”

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