Basketball Ireland has been informed that Griffith College Swords Thunder have been disbanded and will no longer take part in the Men’s Super League championship.
The news wasn’t entirely a surprise to many in the sport as the Thunder have struggled in recent weeks with only six players in total at their disposal.
The club’s difficulties began when founder member and coach Dave Baker suffered health problems.
Baker basically ran the club as a one-man show and when he departed, the relationship between sponsors Griffith College and the basketball club began to weaken.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner last night, Swords Thunder captain and temporary coach Isaac Westbrooks explained the club’s plight.
Westbrooks said: “When Dave ran into health problems the operation went down and in hindsight when you have a man who did as much as Dave had done since he formed the club with no assistance, the inevitable was bound to happen in a situation like this.
“The big clubs in the league have structures and committees and sadly as Dave had run the operation solo, there was nobody else in the club to pick up the pieces.”
In 2011, the club joined the Men’s Division 1 league as Dublin Thunder, but when they joined the Men’s Super League in 2013 there were reservations within the sport, with some pundits insisting their structures didn’t meet the league requirements.
Baker brought quality European and American players to the club with the majority of them sponsored by Griffith College to study in their chosen field.
The worry now for Basketball Ireland will be the financial standing of many clubs, as without sponsorship, they are running their operations on a shoestring budget.
Griffith College Swords Thunder’s Super League results for this season will now be cancelled and the table adjusted accordingly.
Basketball Ireland stated: “In accordance with appendix 7 of the MNCC regulations, the league table will be adjusted accordingly this week.”
Appendix 7 states that “if a team withdraws or is expelled from the competition, then all games in which the team participated in prior to the withdrawal or expulsion will be considered null and void and will not be included in the table”.