Originally distributed to the media May 17, 2017
Mary Baldwin University Athletics announced today that it would discontinue its NCAA Division III soccer program, starting in the 2017–18 academic year.
The decision comes as a result of declining interest in the sport, and after athletics officials determined that there would not be enough players on the fall roster to field a team. Seeing potential, MBU had hired a new coach last year with the hope of reviving the program.
“This was not an easy decision, but one we made with much deliberation and care,” said Lynda Alanko, interim director of athletics. “Mary Baldwin Athletics is committed to providing the best sports programs, but ultimately, we believe this decision was in the best interests of both student athletes and MBU Athletics.”
Making the decision to eliminate the soccer program at this time will give the USA South Athletic Conference and non-conference teams time to adjust, Alanko said.
MBU has seen success on several of its teams in recent years, particularly in running. Cross Country has perennial standouts, most notably two-time All-American Sophia Stone ’15, who was twice among the top finishers at the NCAA national championship during her time at Mary Baldwin. The university also introduced track and field as a spring sport this year, and saw more student athletes compete there than on any other team.
In addition to cross country and track and field, Mary Baldwin will continue to support teams in basketball, softball, tennis, and volleyball and a club team in horseback riding.
Mary Baldwin University, founded in 1842, offers a range of degree programs from bachelor’s to doctoral, and serves a diverse student population on its main campus in Staunton, Virginia, at its nearby health sciences campus in Augusta County, online, and through regional advising centers throughout Virginia. All programs are coeducational except the Mary Baldwin College for Women. Throughout 2016–17, MBU is celebrating its 175th anniversary.