Cayman Islands Swimming Association Members Offer Help for Rutgers Swimming and Diving Team

By Jason Marsteller

PISCATAWAY, New Jersey, February 13. TODAY, Swimming World Magazine obtained a copy of a letter from members of the Cayman Islands Swimming Association in which a week's stay at a Cayman Islands condo has been offered as incentive to help the Coalition to Save Our Sports at Rutgers.

The condo, owned by Sara and Peter Mackay, is located in Cayman Kai, a low-key area of Grand Cayman 45 minutes from town. What makes the offer even more impactful is that the Mackays are not affiliated with Rutgers, but with Big East foes Notre Dame. Their son, Andrew, swims for Notre Dame University and was the first swimmer to represent the Cayman Islands at the Olympics during the 2004 Games.

While Rutgers Athletics Director Robert Mulcahy has told the Rutgers Board of Governors that all they had to do was absorb a "short-lived groundswell of support" for the cut teams, offers like this that come from out of the blue should remind Mr. Mulcahy that this type of support will not be short-lived.

After too many years of watching men's swimming and other sports becoming cut into oblivion by athletics departments that forget the role of their department on campus should not be a business-first endeavor, it seems that the proverbial line has been drawn in the sand with this recent round of cuts. With people like Glenn and Lisa Pantel of the Coalition and Phil Whitten, Executive Director of the College Swim Coaches Association of American, devoting their entire energy into the cause along with affected teams banding together at different institutions, there is a burgeoning typhoon of support ready to come crashing down on the side of these cut sports.

The Coalition intends to use the week stay as a thank you to those people who have already made financial pledges to save the cut sports at Rutgers. The Coalition has proposed a drawing to award "one week in paradise" to one of the pledges and more details will follow after the 2006-07 is complete for all affected sports.

While we are on the subject of the money pledged to Rutgers, even more outlandish news has come out of New Jersey speaking to just what type of person is running the show of its athletics department in the form of Mr. Mulcahy.

Two months ago, Mr. Mulcahy told representatives from each of the sports that the cuts came about directly from the New Jersey State budget crisis and that the issue really boiled down to money. At that time, the Coalition asked Mr. Mulcahy "What if we could raise the money?" and he told them to go ahead. Within the last two weeks, the Coalition came back to Mr. Mulcahy with pledges amounting to more than the amount to be saved by cutting the programs. Mr. Mulcahy's answer? It never really was about finances.

Yes, you heard it right from the horse's mouth. This decision was never about money. What it was, outside of streamlining Rutgers athletics department to the detriment of more than a 100 student-athletes and the benefit to those "over-worked" assistant athletics directors who "have" to administer these teams, we don't know.

This news comes out at the same time that the university president, Richard McCormick, will get a $500,000 retention bonus this year and be eligible for $100,000 a year in potential increases after that, on top of the football team gaining exorbitant raises much larger than the $192,000 it would take to save the six cut sports this year.

To continue to remind Rutgers that the "groundswell of support" will not be short lived, please follow Whitten's advice:

"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, 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 ( 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

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"

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