College World Series-Bound Baseball Team Receives Tremendous Support as Its School Shuts Down

Used with permission of Birmingham-Southern College Athletics

On Memorial Day, I brought you the bittersweet, inspiring story of the Birmingham-Southern Panthers baseball team. The team won its Super Regional postseason tournament and is set to play in the Division III College World Series. What’s remarkable about this feat is that the baseball team will outlast its school, which shuts its doors on Friday. 


As the team heads to Eastlake, Ohio, for one last try at a championship, it’s experiencing a groundswell of support. The Poarch Band of the Creek Indians provided a large donation to the team.

"The Poarch Creek Indians are proud to announce a donation of $25,000 to help the Birmingham Southern Baseball Team hit their goal towards attending the Division III National Championship. We believe in the power of sports to unite communities and inspire excellence, teamwork, and perseverance,” read a statement from the band. “We wish them the best of luck and are confident they will represent not only Birmingham Southern but our entire state of Alabama with pride and distinction."

What’s even more impressive is a GoFundMe that has raised over $106,000 at publication time. The fundraiser was the brainchild of Kristin Waters Sullivan, the sister of Birmingham-Southern Athletic Director Kyndall Waters.

“My sister, Kyndall Waters, is the Athletic Director at BSC,” Sullivan explained to PJ Media. “She played D1 volleyball there, starting in 2001, and has been at BSC ever since. We're very close, so that means BSC has been a big part of my life too.”

Sullivan and others dreamed up the fundraiser at last weekend’s Super Regional tournament after Waters became inundated with offers of support.


“We discussed the GoFundMe with some of the parents who are part of the Hulse Patio Social Club, a group that was founded in 2008 by Don Hulse, father of then-player (now assistant coach) JD Hulse,” Sullivan said. “HPSC has been a huge part of BSC baseball, where they grill out on the Hulse Patio during games, feed the team after games, and often even feed the opposing team. They wanted to send this historic team out in style and this was the perfect way to allow others to help do that.”

The original goal for the fundraiser was $50,000, and Sullivan admitted that they thought they were “shooting for the moon” with that goal. Donors have given over twice as much money, and the organizers are “stunned at and thrilled by the response.”

The proceeds from the GoFundMe will help the players with travel and other expenses while they’re in Ohio. The NCAA pays for basic travel expenses and a per diem for 25 players, but Birmingham-Southern is bringing 39 players to the CWS. Coach Jan Weisberg also wants the team to receive CWS rings as well, which the fundraiser will help pay for. Anything that’s left over will help the coaches and staff transition to new employment.

Related: This College Baseball Program Goes for One Last Ride After the School Shuts Down for Good

How has the team and its administration reacted to the support?


“I talk to Kyndall daily, and she's just so proud that the guys on the team are getting this much well-deserved attention,” Sullivan said. “They have all been overwhelmed and really touched by the response.”

Waters gave a statement to PJ Media:

The team departed today for the World Series, and we're so excited to be able to be a part of this historic season. We want to thank everyone who has sent notes of encouragement, congratulations, and financial support. To be able to travel our entire roster and give these guys a first-class experience is due, in large part, to the financial contributions of people across this country. Thank you! We look forward to seeing our team compete in the World Series!

“We are so grateful for all the support and donations we have received through the GoFundMe. It has given us opportunities that we never could have imagined,” senior outfield Ian Hancock told PJ Media. “I never thought this many people would care this much about our situation, but it has been really cool to see the love we've gotten, and we are all extremely appreciative.”

While this immense and encouraging support is for the team, of course, it’s also about much more than that. It’s about a fanbase and a community that is reeling from the loss of a longstanding educational institution.

“It just absolutely fills my heart to the brim,” Sullivan told PJ Media. “These kids have worked so hard and persevered through a very difficult season. To see their joy and the joy it's brought to the whole community is simply amazing. It's given our city and the BSC family a light in a very dark time. I hope they win the whole thing, but we are all so proud of them regardless of the outcome.”


The Panthers play their first game on Friday, May 31, at 4:45 p.m. Eastern, and the NCAA will livestream it. If you want to donate to the fundraiser, click here.

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