Citadel Golf Saved for Another Season

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CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Citadel men's golf coach Benji Broadwater was in his office Thursday, making plans for his team's upcoming season -- something he didn't expect to be doing six weeks ago.
 
The Bulldogs' program looked dead after the school's Board of Visitors voted June 14 to cut men's golf and men's soccer to help deal with a $3.2 million budget shortfall.
 
However, some quick and aggressive measures raised close to $52,000, Broadwater said, and spared Citadel golfers for this season.
 
'It's been really exciting, especially for the players,' said Broadwater, himself a former Bulldog golfer. 'To see the kind of support they've gotten has been special.'
 
The money gives golf a one-year reprieve. The next mark for supporters would be to collect $1.85 million by April 1 and permanently endow the program -- something Broadwater admits might be harder to reach. 'But we've got more time than we've had,' he said.
 
There was not the same call to save Citadel soccer, which won't be around next fall, athletic director Les Robinson said.
 
Efforts to save the golf team began among alumni and players' families almost from the moment the ax fell, Broadwater said.
 
The centerpiece was a tournament at RiverTowne and Dunes West that drew 176 players and raised about half the necessary funds. 'It's incredible,' Broadwater said. 'When we sat down to first talk about the tournament, I thought maybe we'd get six thousand (dollars).'
 
In the past few years, Robinson has seen schools across the country dump longtime athletic programs in the name of balanced budgets. 'Not many of those are saved,' he said.
 
Robinson expects more tough times ahead for his and other athletic departments. The only thing administrators seem to talk about these days, he said, is the financial hit they're dealt each year. 'Athletic departments are going to be forced to defend themselves more and more,' he says, 'and show the value of sports.'
 
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