NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, March 24. THE University of New Orleans announced on Wednesday that it has decided to discontinue its men's and women's swimming and diving programs after exploring different options to maintain the program.
The move is being made as the University prepares to announce the addition of three new sports next month upon the institution's anticipated acceptance into NCAA Division II.
The Gulf South Conference, which has played an advisory role during UNO's planned reclassification into Division II, does not sponsor swimming and diving.
"This difficult decision comes after several efforts to retain these programs," said Athletic Director Amy Champion. "We worked with head coach James Winchester in putting together some creative ways to reduce the impact of the sport on our budget."
"Ultimately, we could not make swimming and diving work within our plan for properly supporting the 10 sports needed in order to comply with Division II membership standards in 2011-12."
The University will honor the athletic scholarship commitments it has made to the two male student-athletes that retain athletic aid from the program's tenure as a scholarship-offering Division I program.
This past season, the men's and women's teams competed as a Division I Independent, completing a minimal schedule and at times, competing with fewer student-athletes than officially required by the NCAA to count events as an "official contest".
A majority of the student-athletes that completed the year with the squad had also indicated to Winchester that they did not intend on returning for the 2011-12 campaign.
UNO was home to a women's swimming and diving program from 1984 through 1992, before it was restored for its most recent run from 2004-11. An accompany men's program has existed from 1988 through 1992 and again from 2008-11.
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