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For the first time in 24 years, Fall intramural softball was cut from UF RecSports’ programming. 

The sport was discontinued for its Fall season because of a more than 20 percent decline in popularity in the last five years, said Jon Broska, the assistant director of competitive sports.

Intramural programs across the country are experiencing a decline in the popularity of its softball leagues, Broska said.

Ultimately, the $12,000 cost may have been more than it was worth to keep the sport, Broska said. That number doesn’t include field maintenance, lighting, two umpires, a scorekeeper and a site supervisor needed to play.

The sport could make a comeback next Fall pending an evaluation, he said.

David Berryman’s has played in a softball team with UF Kappa Sigma fraternity members for two years. He said it’s been a big part of his college experience. 

“I find it something I look forward to all week, as it gives me a chance to play a sport with many of my close friends in a sometimes competitive, always enjoyable environment,” the 21-year-old UF microbiology junior said.

Broska said he understood the disappointment students like Berryman felt by losing the sport all year. Recruiting more players for Spring, however, can help reverse the decline of the interest in softball.

“In a sense, we hope that ‘absence will make the heart grow fonder,’” Broska said.