Limestone University and its Athletic Department have announced the discontinuation of the men’s volleyball program effectively immediately. Currently enrolled students will retain their scholarships through the completion of their fourth academic year if they remain at Limestone.
The decision to discontinue men’s volleyball is part of the strategic realignment of resources being implemented by Limestone to better position the University to support its current and long-term goals and to provide better financial stability. Recent cost savings studies by the University also led recently to the discontinuation of its women’s wrestling program, as announced on April 4.
“While it was made in best interests of the athletics program and the University, this decision to discontinue men’s volleyball was difficult, and we certainly feel the pain of those being impacted,” said Hailey Martin, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. “When examining the future of our programs, it is necessary to consider many factors, including the level of investment required to ensure future competitive success for a particular sport, and the financial strength of the athletics department as a whole.”
Per NCAA rules under these circumstances, the student-athletes impacted by the discontinuation of the sport at Limestone can be immediately eligible if they transfer to another institution.
Limestone announced the addition of men’s volleyball as a varsity sport for the 2009-10 academic year, making it the only such collegiate team in South Carolina at the time. The squad began competition in the spring of 2010. There are currently 33 men’s volleyball programs across the country in NCAA Division II. In South Carolina, other Div. II institutions currently offering men’s volleyball include Benedict, Erskine, and North Greenville. At the NCAA Division I level, there are 26 men’s volleyball teams in the United States, but none in South Carolina.
Under the direction of head coach Steve Benson, the Saints’ 2023 campaign came to an end on a high note with a 3-1 victory over Maryville University (St. Louis, MO) in the Independent Volleyball Association (IVA) Championship Tournament’s third place match held in Charlotte. The Saints wrapped up the year at 16-12 overall.
Limestone’s junior outside hitter James Chretien from Quebec City, Canada, was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Men's Collegiate Player of the Week on April 18, following the IVA Championship Tournament.
“It will now be our top priority to make sure that we support our student-athletes through this transition,” said Limestone’s Interim President Dr. Monica Baloga. “Scholarships will certainly be honored for those young men who choose to remain at Limestone. This was an incredibly difficult decision, and we wish nothing but the best for all of these student-athletes affected, including those who wish to continue their academic and athletic endeavors at other institutions.”
Nearly all of Limestone’s teams compete in the South Atlantic Conference, but the SAC does not currently sponsor men’s volleyball. Going into the current academic year, the Limestone men's volleyball and women's wrestling squads were members of associations but not affiliated with any conferences.