By Phillip Whitten
LAWRENCE, Kan., Mar. 4. UNIVERSITY of Kansas athletics director Dr. Bob Frederick announced today that men's men's swimming and diving and men's tennis would be discontinued as intercollegiate sports at KU starting with the 2001-2002 season.
In a shamelessly cynical statement Frederick said:
"Without the prospects of significant additional revenue sources on the horizon, we have no alternative but to discontinue two sports," in making the announcement at a special KUAC Board of Directors meeting on Sunday.
"Our senior administrative group and the KUAC Finance Committee have spent many long hours reviewing our projected budget for next year and for the next five years. In an effort to retain our broad-based 20 sport program we looked at all possible options. We currently rank 16th nationally and third in the conference in the number of scholarships we provide, but our overall athletics budget doesn't rank among the top 50 schools. The reality for us and many of our peer institutions is that cuts are inevitable."
Frederick's statement appears to leave open the possibility that if outside sources of funding are found for the swim program, the team will be continued. If swim team members, their family, prominent alumni and the swimming community can organize quickly, as they have at Miami and Washington, it remains possible that the program may be saved.
Administrators at other schools have made similar statements about finances being the reason they are cutting swim programs. In some cases, that has turned out to be true, and when additional funds were found, programs were saved. In other cases, such as UCLA, even when alumni and other donors have pledged not only to fully finance the team but to build additional needed facilities, administrators have still cut the programs.