Baseball & softball advance in BUCS review process

Tue 10 Dec 2019

BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) and British University & Colleges Sport (BUCS) today announced that baseball and softball have been invited to the implementation stage of the BUCS Sport Review process. The announcement was made following the BUCS Annual General Meeting and Winter Seminar in Loughborough on 5 December.

BaseballSoftballUK’s Development team worked closely with BUCS on a consultation process for the past 18 months, putting forward the case for the inclusion of baseball and softball in the BUCS Inter University Competition Programme. The detailed review and planning process involved open consultation with over 170 BUCS Higher Education Institution members, who were overwhelmingly supportive of the proposal moving forwards.

If successful within the implementation phase, inclusion in the BUCS Inter University Programme would give BaseballSoftballUK the opportunity to expand access to baseball and softball to as many institutions as possible, while also allowing existing university baseball and softball teams the chance to raise their profile.

This announcement represents a significant step forward in BaseballSoftballUK’s involvement within Higher Education.

Leading on the initiative were BaseballSoftballUK’s Chris Rawlings, Head of Development, and Patrick Knock, Development Manager.

“I am delighted with the announcement from BUCS inviting us to move to Implementation Phase for inclusion into the BUCS Inter University competition programme,” said BaseballSoftballUK Head of Development Chris Rawlings. “It will provide us with a great opportunity to further strengthen the presence and profile of baseball and softball in the university sports sector in the coming years. It is the culmination of a rigorous and detailed review process which BUCS have taken us through in the past 18 months. It has given us the opportunity to review the structure of our competitions for both baseball and softball, much of which we have introduced in this current academic year as a forerunner to inclusion in the future.”

Rawlings continued, “This is the result of much hard work by many students over a number of years, during which time baseball and softball have grown significantly in the Higher Education Institute sector. Without the establishment of these clubs and societies, we would not have had a strong case to present to BUCS and its member institutions. We are very hopeful that following a successful implementation phase, we will see our university clubs and societies being able to access facilities more readily and receive additional administrative and financial support, further strengthening and sustaining them.”

Commenting on the outcome of Cycle Two [progression to the implementation stage], BUCS Director of Delivery Jenny Morris said, “‘It is exciting to see the Sport Review process continue to evolve and provide such a fantastic opportunity for sports to improve their offer within Higher Education. I’d like to thank all the proposers for their hard work and commitment in engaging with the process. A number of the proposals have been in development for over 18 months, so it was brilliant to see institutions provide such valuable feedback during the consultation phase. We will now work with proposers, institutions and student-athletes to ensure that the proposals continue to progress. We look forward to seeing what changes may be possible for next season.”

Kyra Bird, Captain of the University of York Baseball and Softball Club, commented, “Becoming a BUCS sport would have a monumental impact on the future of Softball and Baseball in the UK. University level recruitment is a perfect, large-scale way to instill a passion for the sports in young people, providing teens and young adults with a great way to get involved.

Simon Chen, President of UCL Baseball Club, added, "I think that baseball and softball becoming part of the BUCS programme would be a big step in growing the sports in the UK. The recognition will help provide additional funding for many clubs, allowing for better equipment to be used and cared for. Additionally, this should help level the playing field, eliminating the financial advantage held by some teams, providing more competitive games. All in all, this is an exciting prospect, and a big step forward towards growing these sports"

BSUK’s involvement in university baseball and softball started in 2009, with just five institutions each fielding a single baseball team and has grown significantly over the past ten years to 36 institutions fielding a combined 79 teams made up of more than 1,600 players. This year, BSUK relaunched a new-look University Baseball Competition and University Softball Competition, as well as the first annual Autumn Open University Championship tournaments, leading to further interest in the sports at the university level.

BSUK and BUCS will now move into the implementation phase of the process next month and will provide more information as it becomes available.

About BaseballSoftballUK
BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) is the development agency for baseball and softball in the United Kingdom. Since 2000, BSUK has provided services to the sports' governing bodies, the British Baseball Federation (BBF) and British Softball Federation (BSF) with the aim of developing and increasing the levels of participation, skill and achievement in UK baseball and softball. This occurs at both junior and adult levels, from school and grassroots through domestic adult clubs up to the Great Britain national teams. For more information, visit www.baseballsoftballuk.com

About British University and Colleges Sport
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for university sport in the United Kingdom. BUCS was formed in June 2008 following a merger of the British Universities Sports Association (BUSA) and University College Sport (UCS) organisations. BUCS is responsible for organising more than 50 inter-university sports within the UK and representative teams for the World University Championships and the World University Games. BUCS is a membership organisation for over 170 universities and colleges in the UK, with over 4,800 teams participating in BUCS competitions.

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