March 28. OUR fears, articulated several weeks ago that the Iowa State University men's swim team may be vulnerable to being cut, sadly have been realized. In the last 24 hours we have received several e-mails from ISU students and alums asking for support and help.
Jim Zenk, a 1995 ISU grad and former varsity swimmer writes: I can confirm that the threat to Iowa State Men's Swimming & Diving is real. In a 25-minute
conversation I had with the new ISU Athletic Director
Bruce Van de Velde, it became very clear that the
current budget deficit facing ISU Athletics will
require the Athletic Department to reduce the number
of sports offered at ISU. According to Mr. Van de
Velde, an announcement will have to be made in the
next 2-3 weeks.
Mr. Van de Velde assured me, however, that he will
seek assistance from the University to provide some
relief to his budget. Given that the University is
also facing a budget shortfall, however, Mr. Van de
Velde made it clear that the support from the
University may not be forthcoming.
Another way of looking at this is as follows:
ISU Men's Swimming & Diving WILL DIE in 2-3 weeks, if
nothing is done. These young men need help. We, the
alums, cannot single-handedly put forth the money
necessary to help the Athletic Department maintain its
broad-based athletic program. We seek help from the
1. The Iowa Legislature: Please reaffirm your
commitment to diversity in your institutions of
higher education. Please do not require your
administrators to offer nothing more than Football,
Men's Basketball, and 12 other "token" sports (for an
NCAA minimum requirement of 14 sports).
You see, by requiring your Universities' athletic
departments to be "self-supporting," you are requiring
your Athletic Directors to pour every available
resource into the "revenue-generating" sports (which, more often than not, actually lose money). This
results in a "token" commitment to "non-revenue" sports. Yet, non-revenue sports comprise the largest
population in any athletic department.
Why, in our STATE institutions, are we permitting such
a gross misappropriation of funds? It is NOT the
Athletic Director's fault at ISU. He is working with
what he's given. Iowa Legislature, please step up to
the plate and change this! Opportunities at "your"
state institutions are being stripped away, and it's
happening in other states, as well. Why can't Iowa be
2. The University, including the Government of the
Student Body (GSB): ISU Men's Swimming & Diving is
the hallmark of success, from a STUDENT-athlete
standpoint. As students, the team consistently ranks
at or near the top of all ISU sports, in terms of team
GPA. And that, from a group of over 30 students!
There's not just 2 or 3 brainiacs with 4.0's to bring
up the team average. Rather, the WHOLE team consistently performs well in the classroom. The
seniors alone have an average of 3.9+! This is no
fluke, either. The team does well year-after-year.
These are "precisely" the kinds of students who are
your BEST representatives in the field of athletic
competition. They are ambitious, studious, and are
the ones who go on to graduate school.
HOWEVER, they NEVER would have gone to ISU, had it not
been for Men's Swimming & Diving. They have unique
talents, and other schools recognize & respect this
talent, just as ISU has for over 70 years.
Iowa State University and GSB, we are a group of over
75 alumni of Men's Swimming & Diving at ISU. We are
asking you to commit to Men's Swimming & Diving at
Iowa State, just as the Members of the Team have been
committed to you.
Please find alternative sources of funding to maintain
the very programs which represent you best."
Tim Teeter, another '95 ISU grad and former swimmer summarizes the matter succinctly:
"Over the past ten years Trip Hedrick has built a nationally recognized program at Iowa State University. The Men's swimming and Diving team and the Wrestling team are the only two Men's sports that have been able to maintain top 25 rankings consistantly for the past 7 years.
Now Iowa State University is at a crossroad: Drop Olympic sports or not. The swim program at Iowa State has provided thousands the opportunity to compete and represent Iowa State University in the truest of forms of amaturism. Please lend your support to this program by emailing or writting all Iowa legislators, the Govenor of Iowa, and all university officials urging them to evaluate the situation fully and make the proper decision based on fact.
Thanks to all for your assistance."
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