By Phillip Whitten
May 9. SWIMINFO has learned that the University of Northern Iowa is preparing to announce tomorrow morning that it will no longer sponsor a men's or women's swim team, according to a reliable source within the school's administration.
The school reportedly also will announce it is eliminating men's and women's tennis.
An official announcement will be made to the public at a press conference tomorrow at 9:00 am. As this story was being posted, we were unable to reach university officials or coach Danny May for comment.
While the position of the men's swim program as been tenuous for the past few weeks, the announcement of the impending demise of the women's program comes as a complete shock and surprise to UNI swimmers and officials. Reportedly, UNI is already "horribly out of compliance" with Title IX proportionality requirements, and it was thought that the university could not afford to drop the women's team.
UNI just celebrated the 36th anniversary of the swimming team on campus with its greatest season yet. The collective teams broke 33 school records during the year, bringing their three-year total during Coach May's tenure to 83. This year, the women's team posted a 9-4 won-loss record, while the men were 7-6.
University to Cite Financial Reasons
It is thought that UNI Athletic Director Rick Hartzel will cite "financial reasons" for the decision, for which he is responsible. On the surface, it appears the university is, indeed, under financial pressure. This year the state legislature passed an 18.5% tuition increase while, at the same time, reducing its budget for the university by 18%. It is not yet known what the cumulative effect of those two decisions will be on the university's financial resources.
However, the combined women's and men's swim teams account for only approximately $175,000 of the Athletic Department's $7 million budget. That's about 2.5 percent.
The $175,000 total budget includes $22,000 for each of the teams, $58,000 for women's scholarships, coaching salaries and benefits.
In addition, at the same time that the University will plead "hard times," it will begin construction this fall on two new Athletic Department buildings costing $22 million. One of these buildings will contain new offices for the Athletic Director, the assistant ADs, and coaching staff.
It is clear