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Dartmouth Announces It Will Kill Men's and Women's Swimming -- November 25, 2002

HANOVER, NH, Nov. 25. DARTMOUTH College announced today that it plans to cut both its men's and women's swim teams, it was announced this morning.

"As part of planned College-wide budget reductions, the Dartmouth Department of Athletics and Recreation has announced the elimination of its varsity men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs effective at the conclusion of the current competitive season in March 2003," according to the announcement.

It was not known yet whether coaches, swimmers and alumni plan to fight the bizarre decision.

According to the official Dartmouth announcement, the
"athletic department faces a $260,000 reduction of its $10.8 million annual operating budget. The permanent elimination of the swimming and diving programs will reduce the athletic budget by $212,000 annually beginning in 2003-04. The department had already pared down administrative budgets, increased revenue expectations, and required reductions to intercollegiate, recreation and maintenance budgets the previous year. The athletic department is a part of the Dean of the College area, which has sustained a $1.15 million reduction overall.

"Projected deficits for both 2003 and 2004, resulting from the economic downturn that caused a net investment loss of 5.7 percent on Dartmouth’s endowment last year, have forced College-wide budget reductions totaling $4.9 million for fiscal 2003 and $5.7 million for fiscal 2004.

"Information on the athletic budget is being communicated outside the regular budget process in order to give the affected students and prospective students as much time as possible to consider their options.

Director of Athletics and Recreation JoAnn Harper said:
"We have determined that it is better to eliminate one program than to ask all of our other intercollegiate teams to make sacrifices in their programs. By devoting our resources to a smaller number of programs, we will be better able to provide quality experiences for our athletes and teams."

Facilities were also considered in the decision, Harper said. "Dartmouth’s Karl Michael Pool, which was on par with other Division I facilities when it opened in 1963, is now considered substandard in Division I swimming and diving."

The program cut will affect a total of 53 student-athletes. Of the 26 men and 27 women currently competing on the respective varsity teams, three men and six women are seniors scheduled to graduate in June 2003.

The elimination of the program also will affect prospective student-athletes who have applied for early-decision admission to the Dartmouth Class of 2007.

Former Senator Paul Tsongas (D., Mass.), a 1992 presidential hopeful, swam breaststroke for Dartmouth College in the 1960s.

Read letters from Dartmouth swimmers in the SwimInfo Mail Bag