By Phillip Whitten
December 8. TULANE UNIVERSITY’s fledgling women’s swimming program, which has seen remarkable success in its first two years of existence, was one of eight athletic teams cut by the university today. The reason cited was the damage resulting from Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans on August 29.
The NCAA requires a university to field teams in 16 sports for it to be classified in Division 1-A. However, Tulane President Scott Cowen said the school had been granted a five-year waiver.
Aside from women’s swimming (Tulane had already killed it’s men’s swimming program), the teams that have been axed include men's track, men’s cross country, women's soccer, men’s and women's golf, and men's and women's tennis. The cuts affect about 100 athletes.
The eight programs the school will keep include football, baseball, men's and women's basketball, women’s volleyball and women's indoor track, outdoor track and cross-country.
The women’s swim team had been a great success story. In its first season of competition after a 13-year hiatus, Coach Daniella Irle led the Green Wave to an impressive 13-3 (.817) dual meet record. The team also finished fifth at the Conference USA Championship meet despite not fielding any divers.
Irle's charges also fared well in the classroom, with the squad posting an impressive 3.194 team GPA in 2004. It would be interesting to learn which of the eight teams retained by Tulane fared better academically.
Athletic Director Rick Dickson commented: “Today is a day of great loss. As far as I am concerned, no student-athlete is any more important than any other."