University of Toledo Swim Team Supporters to Unveil Plan to Save the Team This Morning -- April 25, 2003
By Phillip Whitten
TOLEDO, Ohio, April 25. SUPPORTERS of the University of Toledo men's swimming team, which was cut in an ill-conceived and ill-considered decision last Friday, will rally at 10:00 this morning at University Hall, outside the bell tower, on the UT campus.
Following the rally there will be a meeting with UT President Daniel Johnson and then a press conference.
In a display of intercollegiate solidarity, swimmers -- both male and female -- from UT, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green's now defunct program, and Ball State among others are planning to participate.
At the meeting with President Johnson, UT Swim Team supporters will present Dr. Johnson with an independent funding plan to save the swim team. Supporters say that in less than a week, they have raised enough money to cover the team's cost. Apparently Athletic Director Mike O'Brien (no relationship to the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in swimming), hired in large part because of his outstanding reputation as a fund-raiser, made less than a sterling effort before pronouncing a death sentenc on the swim team, as well as the men's track and field and cross country teams.
According to Rich Szczepinski, Seniors Coach at the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club, the final decision will then be announced by the university president.
A spokesman for the group of athletes, alumni and supporters of the team commented last night:
"Significant leverage has been gained in the team's favor. We are seeking a mutually beneficial, win-win solution and this is what we hope to report to you tomorrow."
Let's hope so. Let's hope that this Friday is a better Friday than last week's Good Friday.