KU Demise May Spell the End for Big-12 Swimming -- March 5, 2001
By Phillip Whitten
March 5. THE CYNICAL, disingenuous announcement by Bob Frederick, Athletic Director at the University of Kansas, that KU is axing its swim program, may set off a chain reaction that results in the dissolution of Big-12 swimming. The Big-12 conference is one of the premier conferences in the United States.
Informed sources indicate that Nebraska is on the verge of dropping its men's program as well. The Nebraska swimming coaching staff is currently under suspension due to NCAA irregularities, probably in the recruiting area. Paul Nelsen is the acting coach. However, it would be astonishing if Nebraska were to use these irregularities as an excuse to eliminate the program, given the school's woeful record with its football team.
Other sources believe that Missouri and Iowa State may follow suit if Nebraska drops the sport.
If Nebraska drops swimming, there will be too few schools in the conference offering the sport to permit a Big-12 conference championship. This year's meet in Austin may well be the last.
A year ago, one knowledgeable Kansas alum predicted his alma mater would drop swimming, when the basketball coach, Roy Williams, opted not to go to North Carolina. he indicated that the "salary issues" eluded to in the KU press release were about fattening Williams' paycheck. Apparently, Kansas is willing to chop two entire teams (swimming and tennis) to fund the increase in the basketball coach's salary. Said one disgusted Ku alum: "The KU Athletic Corp. represents everything that is reprehensible in college athletics.