Baseball and Softball join BUCS Programme in 2020-21

Wed 22 Jul 2020

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Following the successful implementation stage of the sport review process, BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) and British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) are delighted to announce that baseball and softball will be added as sports to the BUCS Competition Programme starting with the 2020-2021 season. Wheelchair Basketball has also been added to the BUCS programme with baseball and softball.

BaseballSoftballUK’s Development team worked closely with BUCS on a consultation process for the past two years, putting forward the case for the inclusion of baseball and softball in the BUCS Competition programme. The detailed review and planning process involved open consultation with over 165 BUCS Higher Education Institution members, who were supportive of the proposal moving forwards.

Inclusion in the BUCS competition programme gives 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 the culmination of years of work and is a significant step forward in BaseballSoftballUK’s involvement within Higher Education. Leading the initiative were BaseballSoftballUK’s Chris Rawlings, Head of Development, and Patrick Knock, Development Manager.

"I am delighted that baseball and softball will be included in the BUCS competitions programme from Autumn 2020,” said BaseballSoftballUK Head of Development Chris Rawlings. “It provides us with a great opportunity to strengthen the presence and profile of baseball and softball in the university sports sector in the coming years. Developing our sports in Higher Education sits at the heart of the soon to be launched BSUK Strategy, and the timing of our inclusion in the BUCS competition programme is perfect.

“This announcement is the result of a great deal of hard work and dedication by many students, both past and present, over a number of years, during which time baseball and softball have grown significantly in the Higher Education sector. Without the establishment of these clubs and societies, we would not have had such a strong case to present to BUCS and its member institutions to secure inclusion. Being added to the BUCS programme will, we hope, enable existing university baseball and softball clubs to grow, and will allow for universities looking to add new sports to their student offer to support the creation of new baseball and softball clubs.”

Driven to help students have the best sport experience at university, BUCS Director of Delivery Jenny Morris is excited by the new sports.

“At this time, it is important for us to continue to support students with staying active with a view to getting back to playing sport. These new sports are valuable in creating more opportunities for students to get involved, moving and engaged with university sport when we return to play,” said Morris. 

The news was met with overwhelming positivity from current and former university players.

"We're so excited to have baseball and softball included in the BUCS sports this coming year,” said Katie Schofield of the University of Southampton Baseball and Softball Club. “It’s a really good step to increasing the exposure of the sports, not just to students who may want to give it a go but also to the wider community. It’s right in time for them [to join BUCS] to feature in the 2021 Olympics as well! As a club we will have access to more support and structure in terms of booking and playing fixtures and we're excited for the season ahead."

Federico Gambedotti, Head Coach of the Aberdeen University Baseball Club, stated, “It’s so rewarding for players and coaches to see baseball become an official BUCS sport! In Aberdeen our community has worked very hard to create a healthy sport experience accessible to all university students. We look forward to actively promote the sport we all love!”

Former University of Southampton player and co-founder of the Queen Mary’s University London baseball team, Joe O’Connell, added, “Baseball and Softball joining the BUCS competition programme is excellent news for the sports, bringing greater awareness and supporting continued growth in participation at the university level. As a BUCS sport, student unions will be encouraged to offer greater funding to their teams, giving new players access to better coaching, equipment and improved facilities. This has been a long-term goal of BSUK and this success is the culmination of a large number of people’s great effort."

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 35 institutions fielding a combined 83 teams made up of more than 1,600 players.

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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 Universities and Colleges Sport
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the governing body for Higher Education 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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