CMU to add men's golf for 2022-23, meeting NCAA's minimum sports requirement

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Given all the golf talent that's come out of Mt. Pleasant, including the likes of Dan Pohl, Doug LaBelle, Kelly Robbins, Ryan Brehm and Cindy Figg-Currier, it's actually pretty remarkable Central Michigan hasn't had a men's golf program in more than 30 years.

That's about to change.

Central Michigan announced Thursday what has long been expected: It will revive the men's program, starting with the 2022-23 school year. The program was discontinued after the 1984-85 season.

Central Michigan is adding a men's golf program.

The school cut men's indoor and outdoor track and field in 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing budget issues facing collegiate athletic departments. At the time, that dropped Central Michigan to five men's sports, below the threshold for eligibility for Division I. The university received a two-year waiver from the NCAA, with the understanding it would add another men's sport. Golf always was the choice.

The move began under then-athletic director Michael Alford, and was announced Thursday by new athletic director Amy Folan.

“I am excited to add men’s golf, a program that will fit well into our sport offerings," Folan said in a statement. "This program is well-positioned for success in the future based on the strong resources available in our community and in our state."

The men's golf program will be the 17th varsity sport offered by Central Michigan. The program is expected to start with two scholarships, and build up from there. The team is likely to play where the women play, at Mount Pleasant Country Club, which opened a 5,500-square-foot CMU golf facility in 2015. The school said Thursday it continues to explore practice and competition venues for the men's program.

In cutting men's indoor and outdoor track and field, Central Michigan was planning to save more than $600,000 a year. The cost of the men's golf program is expected to be less than half of that.

The addition of men's golf doesn't mean the financial landscape is fixed at Central Michigan.

“We have been working diligently toward this goal since I joined CMU 10 months ago. The financial challenges that forced changes in the sports we sponsor remain,” Folan said in a statement.

“Our top priority is to offer programs that provide an exceptional experience for our student-athletes. I feel strongly we will be able to do this with our men’s golf program based on the financial parameters necessary for a successful program. We are fortunate to have so many fantastic golf courses locally and statewide, which will make this an attractive program for prospective student-athletes.”

Central Michigan will give the Mid-American Conference a ninth men's golf team. Western Michigan will be the only Division I school in the state without a men's golf program.

A national search is underway for CMU's head men's golf coach.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984