University of Maryland has some tough decisions to make. The department, which is required to be self-sustaining (no money from the general fund; it does receive student fees) is not. Facing major deficits, it now faces the task of cutting teams–many teams–up to 10 according to this WaPo article.
It looks like men’s and women’s swimming and diving are almost certain to be cut. The university president has formed a commission and asked for a study which will include recommendations for teams to be cut. But the swim teams have caught wind of the news already; so has Bob Groseth, the executive director of the College Swimming Coaches’ Association. Some coaches and administrators within the swimming community have been none too happy with Title IX, blaming the law on the elimination of men’s swim teams.
But Groseth, whatever he thinks about Title IX, makes this observation about swimming in DI:
As you see with all this conference [realignment], there is a growing number of athletic directors who are using athletic departments as a bottom-line business model – not as part of an overall education model.
He notes that swimming has grown at the DII and DIII levels, though.
And it’s true. UMD is in a big-time conference (ACC) playing big-time sports and they now seem to have no choice but to make similar decisions as other big-time programs–cutting the so-called minor sports.
It’s going to be a tough year for UMD athletics–at least morale-wise–as rumors swirl and campaigns begin to save sports.