"We're not ready to give up;" Boise State baseball fighting to reinstate their program

Posted at 3:01 AM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 08:01:25-04

BOISE — It took 40 years to bring back Boise State baseball, the only Division I baseball program in Idaho.

They were called "The Dirty Dozen," redshirting for a year just so they could play baseball in a Broncos uniform.

Head coach Gary Van Tol spent three years building the program from scratch, putting together a team that had a promising future after a 9-5 start this season.

They sold out the stadium on opening night, as many have waited decades just to watch Boise State baseball again.

But, now the players are stuck struggling with what to do next, while also trying to fight to reinstate their program after it was cut last week.

"It brings tears to my eyes talking about it," said redshirt sophomore, Kase Ogata. "Knowing how much work Gary Van Tol put in and how much work we put in, it's just sad that it has to end like this, but we're not giving up without a fight."

Since the news broke, a few players have transferred to other schools, including Brayden Spears to the University of Oregon and Stuart Flesland to the University of Washington.

“They’re young and they should because nothing is certain and we fully support them, we’ve all been texting each other saying hey man go kill it and stuff like that,” said redshirt Junior Gavin Gorrell.

With school about to start in four weeks and a lot of the other rosters full and scholarships took, it's difficult to transfer this time of year.

"A lot of us have leases we signed, it's just not fair to do it this late in the year without any notice," said Ogata.

He cited Stanford's recent announcement, something he wishes Boise State would do.

"They are cutting their program, but at least giving the guys a year to figure it out," said Ogata. "We got nothing, like at least give us a year. We can either raise the money or if it's not successful, then we can find another program."

Ogata is from Idaho. His dad played football at Boise State, and he's always dreamed of being a Bronco. Ogata says the thought of maybe having to play somewhere else is heartbreaking.

“We want to play in Boise, There’s a lot of guys on the team that want to graduate as Broncos and pitch their last pitch or swing their last swing on a Boise State Baseball Field,” he said.

The team is still holding on to hope even without the support of Athletic Director, Curt Apsey. They have made videos, received pledges and started a GoFundMe page.

Together with the swimming and diving team, they have raised well over $500,000.

"If we get the finances needed that are sustainable for 3 to 4 years then I think we deserve a chance, I don’t think the answer should just be a zero with no hope,” said Gorrell.

But, that's the answer they've received from Apsey. That there's nothing they can do.

Even so, they're not ready to give up. Gorrell says that the fight is bigger than themselves. It's also for all the other little kids dreaming of playing Division I baseball in Idaho.

“These kids in Idaho don’t have any Division I's to try and reach for or stay in their hometown and be the hometown hero," said Gorell. "This was it and now it’s being taken away after one year and it’s heartbreaking for those kids, that’s what I feel the most for.”

If you're interested in helping here are some links:

-Annual Pledges

If the program is not brought back the organizer, Amaia Van Tol, said that all money will be refunded.