Athletics: UL offers ticket refunds; no sports cuts, layoffs planned
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 29, 2020
As they continue to try to figure out how to cover income lost as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the Ragin’ Cajuns are making fans aware of options they have for recouping or re-purposing money spent on tickets for spring games never played.
UL will be sending out letters this week to baseball and softball ticket holders and suite owners with details regarding their options.
The move comes as the Cajuns continue to assess just how much money already has been lost, and could be lost going forward — especially if the 2020 college football season is delayed, shortened or, in a worst-case scenario, canceled — as a result of the pandemic that’s been sweeping the nation.
As they do so, some potential options for saving money that other programs nationwide have invoked are not on the table at UL.
The seats of M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park, shown here for UL's opener on Feb. 14, have empty since the coronavirus pandemic canceled much of the 2020 season in mid-March. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network)
One of them: eliminating one our more non-revenue generating Olympic sports.
“Our department has not considered that route and it isn’t on our department’s radar,” Patrick Crawford, UL’s assistant athletic for communications, said Tuesday.
Another: There is not currently any discussion at UL about asking or requiring coaches and athletic department staffers to take pay cuts, or, as Boise State has done, furloughing them. The same goes for layoffs.
UL athletic director Bryan Maggard declined a request to comment further on potential cost-cutting measures and/or the ticket options Tuesday.
According to the letters being sent to season-ticket holders, options — formulated by the athletic department and the RCAF, its fundraising arm — are plentiful.
One is to gift back to UL in tax-deductible form the outstanding, prorated balance for tickets to games not played.
That would result in the donor receiving 2020-21 season priority points credit, based on the value of their gift, toward their RCAF standing.
One is to credit the balance toward future ticket purchases or donations.
One is to accept a refund that would be delivered in the form of a check.
Each of the aforementioned require the ticket holder to opt in to their respective choice.
Another option is to do nothing at all and allow the money to remain with UL.
UL’s baseball team was 8-9 when its season was canceled in mid-March, just prior to the start of a three-game Sun Belt Conference-opening home series against Coastal Carolina.
Twenty-one of the Cajuns’ 32 home games in a 56-game regular-season schedule were canceled.
UL’s softball team, No. 1 in national RPI ratings when its season was canceled, lost 16 of its 27 home games to COVID-19.
Related: Cajuns coaches saw the end coming
CAJUNS SIGN TWO
Coach Gerry Glasco’s softball team this week announced the signing of two players — graduate transfer infielder Jade Gortarez, who played previously at Arizona State and Texas, and Georgia high school product Brinson Rogers, a pitcher/first baseman from Statesboro High.
Gortarez was an All-Pac 12 second pick in 2019 and third team selection in 2018 and was named her team’s Defensive Player of the Year in both of her NCAA Tournament seasons at Arizona State, where she hit .347 with 15 doubles and six home runs in 2019.
The Riverside, California, native, appeared in 44 games as a freshman at Texas in 2017. She left the Arizona State program in January and did not play anywhere this year.
“Jade (Gortarez) provides us with an elite athlete who possesses an amazing skill set,” Glasco said in a statement released by the school. “She has both the ability to impact or change a game on either the defensive or offensive side of the ball.”
Rogers, a four-year starter with 417 career strikeouts, was ranked as the No. 60 high school prospect by FloSoftball and Extra Innings Softball.
“Brinson (Rogers) is another great addition to our program,” Glasco, an assistant coach at Georgia from 2009-2014 and at Texas A&M from 2015-2017 before coming to UL, said in a statement. “She is another one of the great pitching prospects to come out of the state of Georgia in recent years.
“I have followed her for several years, and I believe that her potential to develop into an elite college pitcher is what many feel makes her the top pitching prospect coming out of the Southeast. She brings size and strength to the circle and throws the ball extremely hard.”
Andrea Cournoyer will transfer to Samford after two seasons with the UL women's basketball team, the Southern Conference program in Birmingham, Alabama, announced earlier this month.
Cournoyer played in all 30 games as a freshman guard at UL, starting 23 and averaging 9.0 points per game while leading the team in both assists and steals.
The Merryville High product — Louisiana state tournament MVP for all classes as a sophomore in 2016 — again played in 30 of 31 games last season, starting 18 and again leading the team in assists and steals while averaging 6.8 points for the 19-12 Cajuns.
Cournoyer's minutes per game dropped from 25.9 in 2018-19 to 21.1 in 2019-20.