Monmouth College (Ill.) Drops Men’s and Women’s Water Polo

Oct 14, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Monmouth Fighting Scots GK Kyle Jones (1) makes a save against the Connecticut College Camels at the Newton White Athletic Center Natatorium. Greg Bartram/betterImage
Monmouth goalie Kyle Jones makes a save against Connecticut College Camels in a 2018 game; Photo Courtesy: Greg Bartram

Monmouth College (Ill.) announced Tuesday that it will discontinue its men’s and women’s water polo programs at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Both programs were started in the last decade, with the men in 2012 and women in 2013. In a university statement, athletic director Roger Haynes cited, “a decrease over the last several years of the number of Midwest high school students who participate in the sport was a major factor in deciding to end the sport on the varsity level.”

That drop has trended with a reduction in college programs in the Midwest, particularly at Division III. The statement references just 20 programs in Division III women’s water polo and 15 men’s, with Monmouth one of only two that isn’t among the East or West Coast power centers.

In a 2018 interview with Swimming World, Fighting Scots head coach Peter Ollis alluded to those challenges:

In our conference, there’s three Division III teams and four Division IIs and we play in the Mid-Atlantic West — McKendree, Salem, Gannon, Mercyhurst, Connecticut, Washington and Jefferson. Those are the seven team on our side of the conference. So, it’s DII and DIII amalgamation. We used to have La Salle, so we had DI, DII and DIII.

As a local team, we’re able to play them for our senior game at home on a Tuesday. It’s tough for our guys; you want to play a game on Saturday or Sunday, but you don’t want to drive somewhere for eight hours. We’ll go to Lebanon in two weekends and it’s a three-hour drive, which for us — we love that. We can do it the day of, making it a lot easier.

Monmouth will continue to sponsor 22 varsity teams, including men’s and women’s swimming.

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