November 2022 Newsletter

Mean Green Baseball Project fights to revive North Texas program

The recruiting ground for North Texas baseball would be a fertile one. Rush noted that eight of the last nine state champions at the Class 4A, 5A and 6A level in Texas have come from within a 30-mile radius of the UNT campus. Add in the great baseball being played in the Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas and it should be really easy for a new program to find success quickly with players who are currently going the junior college or Division II route or going out of state to play.

“The guys who are just riding the bench at big-time D-I places, we've been told by several guys, kids from the area, that if there had been a program, they would have stayed in Denton to play,” Rush said.

And, for Rush, now is the right time as the Mean Green will be moving from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference in the summer. The AAC currently stands at 12 members, but only eight play Division I baseball in the conference (Navy plays football only), and three of those members – Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston – are moving to the Big 12 after the 2023 season.

Joining North Texas in the move to the AAC will be Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Rice, Alabama-Birmingham and UT-San Antonio. All those schools except North Texas play Division I baseball.

“We are pro-UNT athletics,” Rush said. “We just believe that baseball needs to be started up and, to me, (now is the time) if their idea is they want to be in the mix when everybody starts mixing this thing in and out again with the conferences.”

Of course, there are factors other than just money that universities must consider before adding sports. The Title IX regulation that requires schools have an equal number of female and male athletes means that UNT adding baseball would likely require adding another women’s sport. And Rush is all for that, saying it would just enhance UNT’s standing in future conference realignment talks even more.

Rush also is cognizant of not hurting what UNT is trying to do in growing its program and, specifically, the money-driver of college athletics – football – and the school’s desire to ensure it has some semblance of a seat at the table if the move toward a handful of superpower conferences comes to fruition.

“We’re not trying to get money from people that would give to that. That’s their business,” Rush said. “We're trying to get money from people who are only going to give money for baseball. The guys I'm associated with, we’re only giving to baseball and we're looking only for people who want to give money for baseball.”

While public reaction to the Mean Green Baseball Project has been mostly positive, there hasn’t been a lot of contact with administrators with the university or athletic department about pushing this project, but Rush did say some communications with lower echelon athletic department members about the Mean Green Baseball Project has been positive.

The primary obstacle, at this point, obviously, is money. Rush feels once the monetary resources are seriously allocated to bringing baseball back to North Texas, everything else would fall into place. The Mean Green Baseball Project website has a rendering from the past of what a new baseball stadium would look like, and Rush said they don’t need anything big.

“There will be no shortage of really, really good coaches who want to come, coach North Texas baseball, and you don't have to pay a guy $300,000 to start program in North Texas,” Rush said. “I mean, I know several assistant DI coaches who would just love the opportunity, and there's some guys in the Dallas area that run some big time select programs who have approached us about how excited people are around there if they ever got going. So, right now, we're trying to get their attention with followers and money.

“There’s ideas about things that could happen, and we want people to just kind of look at it a different way and not think it is such a detriment, or something that just can't be done, and start looking at ways that we can get it done the next three or four years.”

For more information, visit the Mean Green Baseball Project website at

(Photos courtesy of Mean Green Baseball Project)

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