La Salle Eliminates Men’s Swimming; Cut Programs Up to Seven This Year

La-Salle
Photo Courtesy: La Salle University Athletics

La Salle University became the seventh Division I school this offseason to cut its swimming and diving program, as the school announced Tuesday that is is cutting its men’s program among seven sports at the conclusion of academic year.

La Salle will also cut baseball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s water polo, softball and women’s volleyball, bringing the school’s total varsity offerings from 25 to 18. These programs will compete during this 2020-21 season, if conditions permit. La Salle’s women’s swimming and diving and water polo teams will continue.

La Salle joins Division I schools East CarolinaConnecticutBoise StateDartmouth, Iowa and William & Mary in cutting swimming teams to ease the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

La Salle is a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, and the men’s team finished fourth out of 11 teams at the 2020 conference championships. The Explorers last had an All-American on the men’s side with Ron Karnaugh in the 200 & 400 IM in 1986.

La Salle men’s swimming and diving is currently coached by interim head coach Sasha Malanina after the departure of Jamie Platt, as well as assistant coaches Frank Keefe and Emily Wolbert.

Full Letter from La Salle University Athletics:

We are writing to share difficult news: Today, the University’s Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to reduce the number of La Salle’s intercollegiate athletics teams from 25 to 18 at the conclusion of this academic year.

This action affects the following programs: baseball; men’s swimming and diving; men’s tennis; men’s water polo; softball; volleyball; and women’s tennis. These programs will compete during this academic year, assuming conditions permit and if it is deemed safe to do so. This action will provide a better overall experience for La Salle’s remaining student-athletes and create a more sustainable environment for the University’s athletics department. This measure better aligns us with members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, which—on average—sponsor 19 intercollegiate athletics teams. The NCAA average is 18 teams.

Simply put, La Salle Athletics cannot continue to sponsor 25 varsity sports at a competitive level. Sustaining an athletics department that offers more Atlantic 10-sponsored teams than any other in the conference at a university positioned in the conference’s bottom-quartile in enrollment is not feasible. The rising costs associated with providing a high-quality Division I student-athlete experience and the financial challenges incurred by the department contributed to this decision. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the need for this change.

It’s important to note that this is not a cost-cutting decision, but rather a strategic effort to reallocate our investment in a way that better aligns with our student-centered mission. The athletics department has been underfunded, and our facilities and our support staff have been spread thinly in supporting 25 programs. Properly funding these programs at the level that would sustain their competitiveness and the high-quality experience expected by our student-athletes would have required a financial commitment of at least $100 million in endowment, scholarship aid, and capital investment. This decision will allow us to reinvest existing resources and improve our ability to provide an exceptional student-athlete experience in a competitive, high-quality Division I program.

We know how disappointing this announcement is for members of our community. We acknowledge that there is never an ideal time to make such an announcement. Out of respect for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff members, it was important to make this announcement as early in the academic year as possible, as to allow these members of our community ample time to consider their next steps. In particular, doing so now grants our affected student-athletes an extended period to discuss their futures with their families. (As you know, our fall semester concludes Nov. 25, just before the Thanksgiving holiday.)

13 comments

  1. Andy Gallion

    Only a small part of the oncoming non-revenue sports apocalypse. Every time an athletic department cuts swimming, the overall department GPA is going to take a beating as well.

    • avatar
      Andrea

      Total joke! Hopefully kids will realize that one dies nor need to pay 75,000 /yr to play a sport for 4 more years. Good luck!!

  2. Kara Muscillo

    Swimming taking a beating this year across the NCAA 😩

  3. Jeff Gershe

    As a swimming alum of LaSalle this sucks!!!!!

    • Danilo Trias

      Jeff Gershe and the freshman recruiting class is FAST. This is horrible for the freshman who could have gone anywhere

    • Jeff Gershe

      Danilo, feel so bad for all the freshmen and current swimmers that made a commitment to go to LaSalle.

  4. avatar
    Elisa

    It is interesting that the university decided to keep some of the sports teams that are clearly failing (basketball) and cut ones that were doing well and or improving. Maybe they should address the fact that the school is surrounded by a very dangerous neighborhood and students are constantly being accosted making it a super undesirable college to attend.

  5. avatar
    Jeff Faikish

    This is the epitome of what is wrong. It is a shame that we have so many opportunities taken away from our young people. If it wasn’t for college athletics there are so many people that would not have an education, a job, and for some like me a purpose. This is beyond a shame. Look elsewhere to save your budgets. Not the people who work hard to find a niche in education, athletics and service only to have it stripped. I disagree with this decision.

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