Time to Act to Save Rutgers Swimming, Whitten Says

PHOENIX, September 27. “THE next two weeks are critical in deciding whether the men’s swimming program at Rutgers University lives or dies,” said Phil Whitten, Executive Director of the College Swimming Association of America (CSCAA), today.

Whitten outlined what each member of the American swimming community – from age grouper to collegian to Masters swimmer, and including parents, coaches and officials — can do to “help stop the bleeding.” Quoting NCAA figures, Whitten noted that “intercollegiate swimming has lost more programs — 15.5 percent in the last 10 years – than any other sport. Most, but not all, have been Division I men’s teams.”

“It’s time for the American swimming community, which has been a sleeping giant, to wake up to the danger, rise up and begin to flex its considerable muscle,” he added.

Ten weeks ago, Robert Mulcahy, Athletic Director at Rutgers, announced he was cutting six teams – five men’s and one women’s – ostensibly due to New Jersey’s budget shortfall. The University’s Board of Governors (BOG) will reconsider the issue of cutting men’s swimming at its meeting on October 13, if there is sufficient support for the program, Whitten said.

Rutgers Swimming: A Class Act
The men’s swimming program at Rutgers dates back 92 years. In its storied history, it has produced numerous national champions and several Olympians.

Most recently, it has been one of the top two Scarlet Knights’ men’s teams, both athletically and academically. For 2005-06, it was named an Academic All-America team, joining the women’s team, which won similar accolades. The teams’ academic prowess was featured on the Rutgers web site, ironically on the day before Mulcahy announced he was cutting it.

Rutgers has also been the most successful of the Big East men’s swimming teams, qualifying athletes for the NCAA Championships in three of the past four years. Its coach, Chuck Warner, is a former president of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Four Champions, One Gold Medal.

What You Can Do
“Right now we need to flood the key decision-makers – members of the BOG, the University president, and New Jersey state legislators, with e-mails and letters supporting men’s swimming at Rutgers,” Whitten said. “Make sure you send copies to www.saverutgersswimming.org, and preferably send copies to local New Jersey newspapers.”

Here are some suggestions:
∙ Tailor the letter to the recipient: for example, stress the impact cutting men’s swimming will have on New Jersey youth in writing to your state legislator.
∙ Share your personal story
∙ Share your feelings (distress, sadness, outrage, disappointment, etc)
∙ How RU Swimming has impacted your (or you child’s) life
∙ How elimination will impact you (or your child)
∙ Express outrage over the decision to eliminate sports without thoroughly examining all possible ways to cut cost and increase revenues.
∙ Express outrage over the decision to eliminate sports without contacting the alumni and asking for help.
∙ Express outrage about treating young men this way without thoroughly exploring all options.
∙ Express outrage at the unwillingness to spread these loss of revenue among all sports, rather than focusing them on a few.
∙ Share your views on the value of men’s swimming (to RU, State of NJ, etc.) – Use Talking Points posted on the website (www.saverutgersswimming.org) for ideas
∙ Share consequences of failure to restore the program, for example:
∙ Negative image created for Rutgers by cutting men’s swimming based on criteria (facilities, conference affiliation, Title IX) that do not match up to reality.
∙ Negative Impact on the women’s swimming & diving team
∙ Lost opportunity to compete at The State University of New Jersey in Division I swimming for more than 4,000 N.J. young men who compete in High School Swimming in New Jersey, as well as the thousands who compete at the YMCA and Club levels.
∙ Loss of your support as a football/basketball ticket purchaser for Rutgers events.
∙ Loss of your support as a financial contributor to Rutgers.
∙ Negative public image for Rutgers as it ignores its Mission Statement for athletics in order to focus more money on football.
∙ Negative public image for Rutgers as it eliminates many of the athletes who are its highest academic achievers to focus more money on football.
∙ Negative image for Rutgers as it creates Title IX problems for itself by cutting sports, which violates the spirit of Title IX, and is a “disfavored practice” by the Office of Civil Rights.
∙ For Non-New Jersey residents – Share how you came to know Rutgers as an excellent school through its success in swimming. Now your view of Rutgers has significantly changed in light of their decision to cut swimming, cut high academic achievers and so they can focus more money on football.

Request accountability and ask for a reply/response

Please send a copy of all letters to saverutgersswimming@gmail.com

Having an Impact
To have the greatest impact, send separate letters to each member of the BOG. The 15 members are listed below, followed by their address:

Board of Governors:
Please address letters specifically to each board member (one letter per board member).
Ideal Option – Write letters addressed specifically to each BOG Member, and mail them in separate envelopes, to the BOG address below.
Next Best Option – Write letters addressed specifically to each BOG Member, and mail them in one envelope to the BOG address below.

Members of the Board of Governors:
Albert Gamper, Jr., Chairman
M. William Howard, Jr.
Robert A. Laudicina
Patricia Nachtigal
Gene O'Hara
John F. Russo, Sr.
Patrick M. Ryan
George R. Zoffinger
Ronald W. Giaconia, Vice Chairman
Leslie E. Goodman
Duncan L. MacMillan
Martha A. Cotter, Faculty Rep.
Paul L. Leath, Faculty Rep.
Jillian E. Curtis, Student Rep.
Leslie A. Fehrenbach

Write to them at:
Secretary of the Boards
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Old Queen's • College Avenue Campus
83 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

You can also write to the University president. Richard McCormick:
President Richard McCormick
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Old Queen's • College Avenue Campus
83 Somerset Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Comments Off

Author: Archive Team

Current Swimming World Issue

Trouble Viewing on Smart Phones, Tablets or iPads? Click Here