Battle for Michigan State Swimming and Diving Adds Allies for Board Meeting

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Photo Courtesy: Michigan State Athletics

The Battle for Michigan State Swimming and Diving campaign on Monday announced two speakers who will represent it at Thursday’s Board of Trustees meeting: Best-selling author Adam Grant and retired executive/USA Swimming board member Kathy Fish.

They join a lineup that includes Michigan State program alums Mike Darbee and Robbin Tenglin Makled.

Grant is the author of four books, including Give and Take (2013), Originals (2016) and Think Again (2021), plus a 2017 book co-authored by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg. He’s a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A native of West Bloomfield, Michigan, Grant was an All-American diver in high school who worked with former Michigan State coach Eric Best.

Fish swam at Michigan State, where she graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979. She swam at the NCAA championships in 1976 and 1977. In a long career, Fish was named Procter & Gamble’s chief technology officer in 2014, the first woman to hold the position. Fish was elected to the USA Swimming Board of Directors in September and has been involved in swimming for more than 50 years as a competitor, age-group coach, parent, swim club board president and fundraiser.

Michigan State’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs were cut in October after 98 and 50 seasons, respectively, as varsity programs, effective at the end of the 2020-21 season. The alumni have since rallied a robust effort to save the program, which has included 11 female students filing suit alleging Title IX discrimination.

The move was painted then as strictly a budgetary issue, despite the teams’ low cost of operation. But the university administration has held firm on that stance even as much of that budgetary pressure could have been relieved by a $32 million gift by former basketball player Mat Ishbia last week. That gift, however, is being funneled primarily into the basketball and football programs. Of the $8 million that is to be used at the discretion of athletic director Bill Beekman, none is earmarked for swimming and diving, which Beekman made clear last week.

“As Mat so eloquently said, part of his vision has been to affect all of our student-athletes, past, present and future,” Beekman told The Detroit News. “So for our swimming student-athletes that either are currently with us and decide to stay with us to finish their degrees, the Spartan For Life fund and program that we’re starting will obviously be of great benefit to all student-athletes, including our swimmers and divers. But fundamentally, our decision to end the program at the end of this season remains.”

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Jennifer Parks

    It’s with great pleasure, that I see that Kathy Brown Fish will be speaking. She was a fine swimmer and excellent student, and the epitome of the discipline and hard work that swimmers and divers learn, and exude into their later lives and careers. Brava,Kathy!

  2. avatar
    Anonymous

    #FireBreekman

  3. avatar
    Gail

    Bill Beekman,
    You’re a scrooge and I vehemently dislike you, and you’re selfish. Oh, and you’re an idiot too. Swimming is the best sport, the hardest sport.

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