UVM baseball fans struggle for reinstatement of teams

The UVM softball and baseball teams have been cut following the 2009 season, but players and affiliates of the programs refuse to let the teams fade away without a fight.
Parents of junior Ethan Paquette, a first baseman on the baseball team, along with others, have started an online petition that refutes the University’s decision to cut the team.
The petition demands “a more transparent public disclosure of facts and data [by the University], as well as a public forum to air these grievances.”
Furthermore, it calls for “the reinstatement of these programs through rapid exploration of alternative plans in order to maintain the integrity of the University and all parties concerned.”
Ron Paquette, who helped create the petition, said he was surprised at how the process of cutting the baseball team unfolded.
He said it was handled “in a less-than-professional manner and certainly without any empathy or caring about the psychological impact it would have on the players.”
He also noted that there was a lack of consultation between the trustees, the athletic department and University President Daniel Mark Fogel.
“It should not be left in the hands of just the athletic director and the president,” Ron Paquette said. “So we’ve asked [the Board of Trustees] to reconsider what the athletic director has suggested and to take a vote on it and to do that as soon as possible.”
According to both Ethan and Ron Paquette, the players were informed by the athletic department about the decision to cut baseball through a written statement and were left without a chance to ask questions.
“It was pretty embarrassing, the way they informed us,” Ethan Paquette said. “It wasn’t done professionally.”
The effect of the team being cut has been evident throughout the early stages of the season, mainly because the team was notified of the cut a week before their first game.
“Everything has changed, we’re trying to refocus, we’re trying to get things together, but it’s still lingering there,” Ethan Paquette said. “We’ll overcome it during the season, but it is unfortunate.”
Though the players are trying to keep a positive attitude, the reality of the situation remains present.
“This is not just money, it’s about people’s lives. People have put their entire life into baseball and now it’s just taken away from them,” Ethan Paquette said.
One of the complications for the players during the season is that they must find new programs to transfer to if they wish to continue playing baseball.
Ethan Paquette cites the athletic department’s lack of support in helping players find new homes as problematic.
“I’m kind of disappointed because they [athletic department] are not pushing to help us find other places to go,” Ethan Paquette said. “I haven’t got any assistance from anyone except from our coach who’s helped get our names out to other teams.” Ethan Paquette said.
Transferring becomes even more complicated for the upperclassmen like Ethan Paquette, who are on line to graduate on time but may be forced to sit out a redshirt-year at a new school.
But for the players and coaches, the petition shows that there are many who still feel strongly about the programs and are willing to support them.
Both Paquettes said that the petition may have no pull on the decision, but it is worth getting the voices of those who support the UVM baseball and softball programs out there to be heard.
Voices from all over are chiming in as the petition has reached over 2,100 signatures as of last Friday.