Big 12 Schools That Cut Swimming Find Football and basketball Fortunes Plummet

By Ron Neugent

April 26. STATISTICS compiled by universities that have cut men's swsimming teams present a cautionary tale for schools, such as Toledo, contemplating ssimilar, ill-conceived moves.

A few months back you published statistics in Swimming World from the Big XII Conference football results that compared the universities that eliminated men’s swimming & diving in March 2001 (Iowa State, Kansas, and Nebraska) to those that did not eliminate men’s swimming & diving (Missouri, Texas, and Texas A&M).

I have updated those statistics with results from men’s Big XII basketball from 2000-01 to 2002-03 and an evaluation of overall (men & women) athletic department performance from the NACDA Directors’ Cup results from 1993-2003.

The results suggest the same trend. Overall, the Big XII universities that downsized their athletic department in March 2001 are struggling.

Nebraska and Iowa State’s decline in the NACDA Directors’ Cup from 2000-01 to the current rankings is dramatic.

Nebraska has fallen from a consistent top thirteen ranking to 22nd in 2001-02 and now 31st in 2002-03.

Iowa State’s performance is even more dismal, plummeting from a consistent 40-50+ ranking to the current 110th.

Kansas continues to struggle around 80th place.

As Terry Holland, former athletic director at the University of Virginia, said in a June 2001 issue of Street & Smith’s Sportsbusiness Journal, cutting sports is a short-term budgetary solution and “sooner or later you will cut your own throat.”

Football, basketball, and overall athletic department statistics may fluctuate from year to year. However, a university athletic department is a sports fraternity, with both men and women members. For a high school student-athlete (male or female), part of the decision-making process of where to attend college depends on what school your friends are planning to attend. This includes friends that participate in other sports and other university programs. The more sports and programs offered by a university, the greater the opportunity that athletic and non-athletic friends can attend the same university.

In addition, the better the college athletic fraternity (male and female), the easier it is for a university to recruit athletes to its programs. I believe that is the main reason for Stanford University’s athletic success (eight straight first place finishes in the NACDA Directors’ Cup competition!). Stanford boasts 33 or 34 varsity sports – what a fraternity of friends! As a contrast, Kansas currently offers only 18 varsity sports.

THE STATS:

Men’s football results of the three Big XII Conference universities that dropped men’s sports programs in March 2001.

KANSAS NEBRASKA IOWA STATE

Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %)
Overall Conference Overall Conference Overall Conference
2000 4-7 (36.4) 2-6 (25.0) 10-2 (83.3) 6-2 (75.0) 9-3 (75.0) 5-3 (62.5)

2001 3-9 (25.0) 1-7 (12.5) 11-2 (84.6) 7-1 (87.5) 7-4 (63.6) 4-4 (50.0)

2002 2-10 (16.7) 0-8 (0.0) 7-7 (50.0) 3-5 (37.5) 7-7 (50.0) 4-4 (50.0)

The average overall winning percentage for all three universities decreased from 64.9% to 38.9% (a decrease of 26.0%) from 2001 to 2003. The average conference winning percentage for all three universities decreased from 54.2% to 29.2% (a decrease of 25.0%).

Men’s football results of the three Big XII Conference universities that continue to offer men’s swimming & diving as a varsity sport program.

TEXAS TEXAS A&M MISSOURI

Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %)
Overall Conference Overall Conference Overall Conference
2000 9-3 (75.0) 7-1 (87.5) 7-5 (58.3) 5-3 (67.5) 3-8 (27.3) 2-6 (25.0)

2001 8-4 (66.7) 7-1 (87.5) 8-4 (66.7) 4-4 (50.0) 4-7 (36.4) 3-5 (37.5)

2002 11-2 (84.6) 6-2 (75.0) 6-6 (50.0) 3-5 (37.5) 5-7 (41.7) 2-6 (25.0)

The average overall winning percentage for all three universities increased from 53.5% to 58.8% (an increase of 5.3%) from 2001 to 2003. The average conference winning percentage for all three universities decreased from 60.0% to 45.8% (a decrease of 14.2%).

When the decrease in overall win % (-26.0%) of the three universities that eliminated men’s sports programs is compared to the increase in win % (+5.3%) of the three universities that did not eliminate men’s swimming & diving, A NET OVERALL ADVANTAGE OF 31.3% WAS GAINED BY THE UNIVERSITIES THAT DID NOT ELIMINATE MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING. When the decrease in conference win % (-25.0%) of the three universities that eliminated men’s sports programs is compared to the decrease in conference win % (-14.2%) of the three universities that did not eliminate men’s swimming & diving, A NET CONFERENCE ADVANTAGE OF 10.8% WAS GAINED BY THE UNIVERSITIES THAT DID NOT ELIMINATE MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING.

KANSAS NEBRASKA IOWA STATE

Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %)
Overall Conference Overall Conference Overall Conference
2001 26-7 (78.8) 12-4 (75.0) 14-16 (46.7) 7-9 (43.8) 25-6 (80.6) 13-3 (81.3)

2002 33-4 (89.2) 16-0 (100.0) 13-15 (46.4) 6-10 (37.5) 12-19 (38.7) 4-12 (25.0)

2003 30-8 (78.9) 14-2 (87.5) 11-19 (36.7) 3-13 (18.8) 17-14 (54.8) 5-11 (31.3)

The average overall winning percentage for all three universities decreased from 68.7% to 56.8% (a decrease of 11.9%) from 2001 to 2003. The average conference winning percentage for all three universities decreased from 66.7% to 45.9% (a decrease of 20.8%).

Men’s basketball results of the three Big XII Conference universities that continue to offer men’s swimming & diving as a varsity sport program.

TEXAS TEXAS A&M MISSOURI

Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %) Wins-Losses (Win %)
Overall Conference Overall Conference Overall Conference
2001 25-9 (73.5) 12-4 (75.0) 10-20 (33.3) 3-13 (18.8) 20-13 (60.6) 9-7 (56.3)

2002 22-12 (64.7) 10-6 (62.5) 9-22 (29.0) 3-13 (18.8) 24-12 (66.7) 9-7 (56.3)

2003 26.7 (78.8) 13-3 (81.3) 14-14 (50.0) 6-10 (37.5) 22-11 (66.7) 9-7 (56.3)

The average overall winning percentage for all three universities increased from 55.8% to 65.2% (an increase of 9.4%) from 2001 to 2003. The average conference winning percentage for all three universities increased from 50.0% to 58.4% (an increase of 8.4%).

When the decrease in overall win % (-11.9%) of the three universities that eliminated men’s sports programs is compared to the increase in win % (+9.4%) of the three universities that did not eliminate men’s swimming & diving, A NET OVERALL ADVANTAGE OF 21.3% WAS GAINED BY THE UNIVERSITIES THAT DID NOT ELIMINATE MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING. When the decrease in conference win % (-20.8%) of the three universities that eliminated men’s sports programs is compared to the increase in conference win % (+8.4%) of the three universities that did not eliminate men’s swimming & diving, A NET CONFERENCE ADVANTAGE OF 29.2% WAS GAINED BY THE UNIVERSITIES THAT DID NOT ELIMINATE MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING.
NACDA DIRECTORS’ CUP RESULTS (1993-2003)*

Kansas Nebraska Iowa State

1993-94 28th 18th 58th

1994-95 33rd 9th 49th

1995-96 31st 8th 40th

1996-97 59th 4th 41st

1997-98 51st (tie) 9th 62nd (tie)

1998-99 56th (tie) 12th 56th (tie)

1999-2000 82nd 6th 42nd

2000-01** 79th 13th 54th

2001-02 64th 22nd 58th

2002-03 82nd 31st 110th
(to 4-17-03)

* = "The NACDA Directors' Cup has become the measuring stick by which colleges and universities
evaluate their athletics programs' postseason success" – NACDA Website

** = Iowa State, Kansas, and Nebraska downsize their athletic departments by
eliminating men’s swimming & diving. In addition, Iowa State eliminates men’s
baseball and Kansas eliminates men’s tennis.

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Author: Archive Team

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