There’s a new buzz phrase in college athletics and it’s not a good one – coronavirus budget.
Colleges and universities are starting to cut sports to save money with one of the latest cuts coming from Furman University in South Carolina. The school announced earlier this week that it was cutting its baseball and men’s lacrosse programs.
Anson Walldorf, a freshman walk-on midfielder from Winston-Salem, said it was tough news to hear.
“It was on noon on Monday and we were sent a text that there is a required Zoom meeting at 3 p.m., and that’s when the athletics director (Jason Donnelly) told us the news. It was tough to hear that they were no longer going to continue the program.”
Walldorf got to play in exactly one game, a 19-4 win over Hampton in February. He had one shot in the game and remembers it pretty well.
Later in the season in mid-March when Furman was warming up to play Army when the season was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was obviously a really weird first year of college,” said Walldorf, a graduate of Reynolds High School.
Walldorf will now look to further his playing career at another school. He’s majoring in political science, but wants to also continue to play so he’s entered his name into the transfer portal.
Even though Furman, which also announced it was cutting its baseball program, won’t sponsor men’s lacrosse anymore Walldorf still had to enter his name in the portal.
“Coaches won’t talk to you unless your name is in the portal,” Walldorf said.
Walldorf said Furman had about 60 players on its roster, and he felt worse for the rising juniors and seniors.
“I have it a little easier since I just started in college,” Walldorf said. “But it’s more disappointing for those older guys on the team and I feel bad for the coaches. Our head coach (Richie Meade) really put his heart and soul into the program.”
The program was started in 2014, and when the rest of this season was cancelled Furman was 1-6.
"As we all know from our shared experience, the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust us into a global crisis we could not have imagined six months ago," Furman President Elizabeth Davis said in the school's press release.
Walldorf said he’ll likely look at transferring to a Division III school where he could get more playing time.
“There are a lot of really good Division III lacrosse schools so I’m going to see about what my next step will be,” Walldorf said. “I loved it at Furman, but now I have to look around and see what’s best for me.”