SCHENECTADY – SUNY Schenectady recently made a decision to not offer baseball as an intercollegiate sport next year, taking potential players and their parents by surprise and sending the players scrambling for other options.
It’s the latest disruption to the college’s athletics program, which currently offers only bowling and women’s crew as sports.
SUNY Schenectady hadn’t offered baseball since the 2019 season, men’s basketball since the 2019-20 season was ended in March 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, or women’s basketball since the 2017-18 season.
SUNY Schenectady baseball coach Jeremiah Horton, who had been elevated from assistant coach in February, was putting together a roster to compete this fall. That included incoming freshman Samuel Langey, from Moriah. According to his father, Michael, Samuel worked out for Horton, toured the campus and the College Suites, a private housing company that caters to college students, and later received an invitation to play. At that point, Samuel decided to attend and stop considering other colleges. He and Michael signed a lease at College Suites and met with his advisor to make a fall class schedule.
Then on May 30, Samuel received a phone message from Horton asking him to call him. When he did, Horton told him that the college would not have a baseball team the upcoming academic year.
“He told Samuel he had no indication this would happen,” Michael Langey said. “He’s young, gung-ho, looking forward to it.
“I called College Suites — I had signed a one-year lease — and they told me because the school went back on having a baseball team, that I could cancel,” Michael Langey added.
Michael Langey wrote athletic director Dave Gonzalez and several administration members to express his displeasure with their decision.
“Now it is June, other team rosters are set, dorms and apartments are full and we have missed deadlines at other colleges for applications and baseball workouts all in reliance on your college. I assume the other twenty-plus student athletes that committed to play there are in the same situation,” Michael Langey wrote in the letter, shared with The Daily Gazette.
“You hired a coach last year, empowered him to recruit student athletes to your college and commitments were sent out to nearly two dozen seniors from high schools in New York, Canada and North Carolina. Why would you waste the college’s resources paying a baseball coach, buying uniforms and then not have a baseball team? Why would you waste your coach’s time recruiting high school athletes, holding workouts and conducting college tours? Why would you waste the time and money of high school student athletes and their families traveling to your college for a visit, workout and to meet with advisors to schedule classes?” Michael Langey added in the letter.
The Daily Gazette asked Gonzalez for an interview and heard back from a public affairs manager for Baker Public Relations. On Friday, they emailed this statement attributable to the college:
“SUNY Schenectady has recently identified the need to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study and develop a strategic plan within the scope of our intercollegiate athletics program, and as a result has continued to pause the men’s baseball program for the 2023-24 academic year until the study is concluded. This step will allow us to re-envision our offerings and provide our athletes with a more robust set of athletics programs which are focused on student success, including the potential for a new sports dome facility to be built on campus. The College has not fielded a baseball team, nor a men’s or women’s basketball team, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and completing this study will help us assess and provide the right mix of athletics to best serve our college community.”
The potential for a new sports dome facility was first proposed in August 2020 by soccer club Black Watch Premier.