Strip Iowa of NCAA Champs Now! Disregard For Eliminated Programs Grows

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The empty Iowa natatorium. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Strip Iowa of NCAA Champs Now! Disregard For Eliminated Programs Grows

Despite the return of Big Ten football, and the subsequent financial boost that will be realized, the University of Iowa has no intention of retaining any of the programs it will cut after the 2020-21 school year. A loss of revenue due to no football season was a primary reason given for the cuts, but now it is clear that the administration was using COVID-19 and the loss of football money as an excuse.

Given Iowa’s dishonesty, now is an appropriate time to reiterate the need for the university to lose its hosting privileges of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships. The blatant disregard for the soon-to-be-cut programs should not be rewarded with the privilege of hosting an NCAA championship competition and the money that would be earned as host.

The University of Iowa made the decision recently to cut its men’s and women’s swim teams at the end of the 2020-21 season. It was the fifth time a Division I school axed its swim team this offseason during the COVID-19 pandemic, following decisions from East CarolinaConnecticutBoise State and Dartmouth. Iowa became the first power five school to make the decision. William & Mary became a sixth school to eliminate its program in following weeks.

It was a stunning move for the rest of the NCAA, especially those in the Big Ten family, as the Hawkeyes are charter members of the conference that was formed more than 100 years ago. Iowa has produced national champions in Artur Wojdat and Rafal Szukala among many others in the 1940s and 50s. The Hawkeyes have one of the top natatoriums in the nation, hosting the 2015 men’s NCAAs, as well as the Big Ten women’s championships in 2020.

Iowa is set to host the men’s NCAA meet this coming season, making the national championships the last meet the Hawkeyes would ever host.

The meet should never make its way to Iowa City.

By eliminating its program and, therefore showing disloyalty to the members and coaches of the men’s and women’s swim programs, the university should have its hosting rights pulled. Take away the opportunity for the school to benefit financially, and take away the chance for the school to be the focal point of the sport. Remove the benefits that come with spectators eating and shopping in town. No school that takes a hatchet to a program should be given the chance to host that sport’s biggest college event. It makes no sense.

It is expected that Iowa will see a number of athletes transfer to other schools, where they will have the opportunity to extend their careers and feel a sense of respect from a new athletic department. Already, Iowa has witnessed an exodus, with Millie Sansome announcing on Friday that she was transferring to the University of Georgia.

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Iowa swim fans. Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

The college swimming community is a family, and losing one team is like losing your own. When the decision was made to host the 2021 NCAAs at the University of Iowa in the spring of 2017, no one could have foreseen a global pandemic would hold the college swim season hostage, and no one could have foreseen a program as historic as Iowa to be cut with no warning.

Participating schools should force the organization’s hand into finding another locale for the meet. Simply, tell the NCAA that programs will not compete at a school that has shown complete disrespect to the sport and a fellow program.

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Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

What happens to the facility? The Iowa natatorium has been in use since the summer of 2010 and has been host to Big Ten’s, NCAAs and numerous club championship meets, including Juniors West and Speedo Sectionals. The University of Maryland cut its swim team in 2012, but the pool is still in use by Nation’s Capital Swim Club and was even a site for the International Swimming League. Having a world class facility on a college campus with no supported swim team does not sit right with the swimming community.

A petition to save the Hawkeye swim and dive team has been started and has circulated around the swimming community. Only time will tell if the decision can be reversed by fundraising or any other means. But the fact that Iowa has agreed to host the NCAA championships and then drop its program altogether afterwards is startling.

114 comments

    • Pablo Valedon

      Laurie Pashley Scherr Lawson I asked the same question when the university of buffalo dropped mens swimming and it went to pay for the football programs new facilities 🤬

    • avatar
      HJ

      ECU supporters have raised over$800,000 in pledges for 5 years and the administration will not even give them the courtesy of a meeting!!! Sad and disrespectful to a team that has been around for 40+ years and been successful athletically and academically year after year including 2019 men’s American Athletic Conference champs ( 4th time in past 5 years And Coach of the year for men’s swimming 2019 in the American. All of these athletes and coaches from all of these schools deserve more respect than they are getting from these institutions. Using COVID as an excuse is absurd. Sad times for swimming in the USA.

    • avatar
      Paul

      That’s what happened at Northern Illinois, cut swimming and build a new football stadium.

  1. Nichol Tran

    Its crazy how disrespectful people are towards swim. Like in our state football teams are able to practice…soccer tournaments are happenimg this weekend. But swim….we can’t seem to move forward

  2. avatar
    Andy C.

    As a graduate of the University of Maryland, who built a state of the art aquatic facility on the campus, only to eliminate both men’s and women’s programs…watching history repeat itself at the University of Iowa (where I worked for a decade) is both sad and disgusting.

    The revenue you would get from hosting major competitions like the NCAAs would more than fund the aquatics programs, not to mention the other two sports that were cut…so who is pocketing all the money??

    • avatar
      Justin browser

      Coach Doyle for starters. Google it if you havent

    • avatar
      Tammy

      It makes me feel sick that PVS teams and PVS meets continues to reward Maryland for cutting the team.

  3. Tim Johnson

    Why cut swim teams? And if you do, sorry you don’t get nationals or money made from it

    • Chad Wallace

      Tim Johnson hosts typically lose money. That’s why no one wants to host.

    • Pablo Valedon

      Chad Wallace not so, they charge a premium just to get in and watch your own kid competing.
      Even with a package deal there is parking costs, concession stand food and merchandise priced so prohibitively expensive that if you want to commemorate being at the championship for yourself and swimmer you pay through the nose.
      They may not generate football or basketball money but enough to defray cost of maintaining the Aquatics program🤬

    • Jenny Hitchcock

      Tim Johnson because schools have lost all the revenue from the other sports being cancelled for the season, like football. The shortfall in the budget has to come from somewhere. It always saddens me to see teams cut.

  4. Bryan Doak

    Pull it, the money from the championship would probably go to the billion dollar plus endowment anyway.

  5. Charlene Tallen

    The NCAA has plenty of time to find another venue. Actions have consequences and it’s time for Iowa to suffer theirs. Bad call Hawkeyes.

  6. Andrew Pierce

    Don’t worry, the season will be canceled anyhow. You can write off this entire year.

  7. Rick Ashton

    If they are going to pull the championships from Iowa, as they should, please wait as long as possible before doing so. I’d like to see the University of Iowa waste as much time and resources as possible preparing for the event!

    • avatar
      Justin browser

      Lol, you think there will be a season

  8. avatar
    Kelly

    You don’t support the swim team, the swim commune shouldn’t support you. Move the NCAAs

    • avatar
      crystal

      The NCAAs should be moved. Iowa should not profit from this. Give it to a school who plans on keeping its swim peogram.

  9. avatar
    swimjim

    The pool at University of Maryland is in use by Machine Aquatics, not NCAP.

  10. avatar
    David Walsh

    The “powers that be” should have to show, immediately, where they will be reallocating the money they will be saving by eliminating salaries of coaches and staff that will be losing their jobs. Who, within the school, benefits from axing these programs? If these teams weren’t generating enough income then incomes from other programs could have been used to “balance things out”.

    • avatar
      Justin browser

      Coaches will be paid thru the duration of their contracts and all athletes will have scholarships honored too. Coat savings is pool maintenance, recruiting, travel, tutors, nutrition, etc…

      • avatar
        Phil Scott

        they won’t save on pool maintenance, it will still have to done. (unless they are going to drain and fill in

      • avatar
        Pete Kennedy

        Pool maintenance is needed collegiate program or not. The tutorial office is not going away. Besides very few if any swimmers even use or know where that office is located. Instead eliminate the growth of administrative positions and do away with those administrative positions which are just “fat” on the fire.

  11. Laura Steward

    I agree…you don’t get to screw your athletes and then host their championship and keep that revenue. Absolutely move it!!!!

    • Pablo Valedon

      Laura Steward absolutely! Those greedy bastards should be stripped of the championship hosting🤬

    • A.J. Anderson

      Laura Steward however Iowa stated they will honor all scholarships already given until current athletes graduate. They also stated they will help any athlete that wants to transfer to a new program. Not sure that’s screwing the athletes type moves.

  12. Sam Schouweiler

    Pete Schouweiler incredibly incredibly sad seeing what is happening with other swim programs being axed

  13. Andrew Johnson

    What a bunch of stupid demands. Who writes these articles?! Do any of you understand what happened to them with the B1G’s idiotic “postponement” of the football season?! We all know it’s a cancellation. Most Universities like Iowa depend on that to provide such a plethora of options and platforms for student athletes. What are they going to cut to make up the giant financial whole? Not football, that’s what provides for most of their budgets. You guys are bagging on Iowa for making the hardest decision they’ve had to make. And now you want to punish them for it. You guys need some help.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      Andrew,
      I love football but the fact is Football is one of the greatest money sucks for Universities. Football being pulled would be the easiest way to save so much money. None of these schools who drop swimming drain their pools it cost a lot more money to maintain an unused pool then it does to maintain an unused pool. Swim meets actually produces much more funding to the school and community then a football game.

      • avatar
        Pat

        Your pretty clueless on how major athletics work in the Big Ten. Look at what each big ten school makes on football television contracts and you will realize how it is the football program that keeps the rest of the university’s programs afloat. It doesn’t matter what a game or meet makes or costs as the TV money is what really matters. Simply put every athletic program is costing the university money. (Men’s basketball is also helping fund the athletic department due to television rights).

  14. Sam Tolbert

    It’s all simple, the alumni, the alumni athletes, need to make a concerted effort to contribute on a regular basis to support their sport. The question always arises, should Universities charge students who don’t participate in a sport, fund the education and expenses of the athletes. Write the check, and get everyone else to do so also. Support the things you value.

  15. Quentin Foley

    Those previous champions have nothing to do with the schools decision. Why would you ever contemplate stripping their titles?

    • Ophelia Ko

      I believe they are referring to the Men’s 2021 NCAA championship that is scheduled to be hosted at the facility. And not the previous titles that were won.

  16. Tim Miller

    I just fine it hard to beilive that all these University have had to cut programs due to a cancel or delayed football season. We are talking one season, so are we to beilive that 100 football players and thier staff is what a University totally depends on for the future of all student athletes. Maybe paying coaches 7 million a year should be look at harder !!
    Just saying

  17. avatar
    Oldmanswimmer

    Never going to happen… and more shoes to drop… this isn’t over… men’s program will continue to drop

  18. avatar
    Truman

    Mizzou should host instead.

  19. avatar
    Anonymous

    Love my sport and university but feel there are more underlying issues here then being let out of the bag…..it’s sad for athletes throughout if this continues to be the result!

  20. avatar
    SwimCoachDad

    Make no mistake; this has nothing to do with any losses caused by the pandemic. This is the result of mismanagement by the Iowa AD and department. According to a November 25th, 2017 article in Business Insider, Iowa had the 19th highest revenues in all of college athletics. The entire annual expense budget from the 4 sports cut is just over $900,000 (Forbes 21 August 2020) while the university is claiming losses from athletics of up to $100MM this year. $900,000 in budget cuts from killing off these sports is so insignificant it doesn’t touch the loss. This is political. It is action without results. This is gross mismanagement by the AD, Gary Barta, on behalf of the excesses of the football program. The Football Strength and Conditioning Coach, before he was released because of racial comments, was making $800,000/year, the highest in the country and almost $300,000 more than the entire Swimming and Diving budget for men and women.

    If this unbelievable situation shows anything it is that every college swimming program needs to start a 501c3 foundation and build up funds so the swimming and diving programs can be protected. It is what saved ASU and is going to allow Texas Swimming and Diving to always be there.

    • avatar
      Anonymous

      This is right on!!

    • avatar
      Kim Rooney

      agreed

  21. avatar
    Andrea

    The entire athletic department at Iowa has already accepted to take a 15 million dollar budget cut for this school year due to loss of revenue from closures this spring & summer. Now cutting 4 entire athletic teams completely is another slap in the face for all the coaches & athletes who have worked hard all summer to be able to return to competition this fall. It’s also late notice for athetes to be able to transfer to another school and team to complete their collegate careers.

  22. avatar
    Matt

    If money could be raised or change of heart by U of Iowa to reinstate Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving should only be if AD Gary Barta resigns. This is on him and his bad decisions since he has become Iowa’s AD.

  23. Randy Sharp

    The won’t be the last to cancel programs. They had $146 million budget for their athletic dept. for the upcoming year. Football was penciled to cover paying for $100 million of that, that’s 70% of the budget. You can’t take away 70% of your earnings for your budget and expect things to remain the same. Wait till they start using that 100 million to start paying players like everyone wants them to, 85% of college sports will go away. Just a glimpse of the future.

    • Randy Sharp

      Svitlana Merlichenko NCAA players aren’t paid

    • Randy Sharp

      And if your talking about cutting money from the football budget that’s brilliant cut the thing that pays for ALL of your other sports.

    • Julie Tellier

      Randy Sharp fun fact; on average about 20 million people watch football on Sunday yet 28 million people on average in the USA (USA not the world) watch Olympic swimming. Maybe if colleges put more thought and resources into swimming as the do football they would see an increase in revenue. Just a thought

    • Pamela Goldsbro

      Randy Sharp … Surely you must see that the amount of money paid to football coaches / staff/ towel carriers etc is pretty excessive for what is really school sport? Yes it generates income for the schools and the NCAA but the salary bills are obscene.

    • Andy Gallion

      Randy Sharp would you say that people would stop watching college football in TV and lose interest if the NCAA reduced scholarshipws to 65 and forced schools to cut the “quality control” staff? Oh there’s no debate that football gate and TV revenues drive athletic budgets, but I think it’s reasonable to look at reigning back college football to save other sports. The alternative here is that soon college sports will be football, men’s and women’s hoops, and three other women’s sports to get to Title 9 equities in scholarships, and the rest will be club sports.

    • Randy Sharp

      Julie Tellier if you’re trying to say that watching swimming in the U.S. will or can be as popular as football you’re smoking crack. Olympics is a whole different game 1st it happens once every 4 years and 2nd it’s the world stage 3rd when they show it they are usually cutting back and forth between other coverage it isn’t just swimming I’m not an idiot I’ve watched the olympics since I was a kid and in 52 years have seen straight swimming coverage.

    • Randy Sharp

      Pamela Goldsbro towel carriers are students they don’t get paid. Their team travel along eats up a budget, not to mention. Paying attendees for home games, security, clean up, maintenance. There are countless expenses that you don’t see. And it’s just plain and simple economics football pays the bills period I dont care if you like it that’s the facts.

    • Randy Sharp

      Andy Gallion fact is football pays the bills period, No football then you have to look at what bills have to be cut out. If you work week to week to pay all your bills but then decide hey I’m just gonna start work 20 hrs a week and take less money, you cant keep the same bills something had to go. You have to stop going to the movies every weekend eating out every other night. They are NOT going to cut what pays the bills.

    • Andy Gallion

      Randy Sharp so what you are saying is that if every football team has 4 fewer assistants that never see the field and gives 10 less scholarships that nobody is going to watch on TV or go to games? BTW, D1 football used to have a 105 scholarship limit. Now it’s 85. But yes, no football this Fall and no B10 TV network money, it’s truly the NCAA apocalypse. Everyone will soon be D3.

    • Randy Sharp

      Andy Gallion scholarships has nothing to do with their spending budget.

    • Julie Tellier

      Randy Sharp that was 28 million to watch Phelps btw. And as I stated the world stage wasn’t even counted in the 28 million. PS – those same swimmers you watch during the Olympics swim NCAA. Keep a closed mind that’s cool, but if you always do what you always did nothing changes for the better. Swimming has a following and if the NCAA televised and promoted swimming like football your 52 year old butt might just be surprised. I’m older than you and I can still be taught new tricks!

    • Pamela Goldsbro

      Randy Sharp We all see those bills and I’m saying that I’m sure that there is room for budget cuts in the football program that could help keep Olympic sports in a Div 1 Power 5 school. Don’t send towel carriers on road trips and you can save on the accommodation bills.

  24. Michael P Gibbons

    This assumes that there will be 2021 championship meet. That seems far from a sure thing at this point.

  25. Cathie Lohse

    Absolutely! Shouldn’t benefit if your not going to support the sport

  26. avatar
    Anonymous

    You Got It!! USA Swimming should work to get these foundations set up!
    Arizona and Texas does a great job! IOWA-Idiots out Walking Around

  27. Brett Phillips

    It would be ashamed for the Iowa Swimmers to lose their team and a home field National Championships

  28. Jason Steward

    Send it to Austin. Iowa has abdicated their privilege to host and that is coming from an Iowan swimmer.

  29. avatar
    Frank

    Absolutely wrong. Iowa should host NCAA Championship. Then call ESPN, CNN, Fox News, and every other media outlet possible to cover the event. Fund raise, demonstrate, bring awareness to the cancelation of Swimming (and other Olympic sports) programs. Most of America is unaware and unconcerned about the canceling of college swimming & diving programs. Use the University of Iowa and its hosting of the fastest swim meet in America to change that. Make it painful to go through with this decision.

  30. Frank McCutchan

    Absolutely wrong. Iowa should host NCAA Championship. Then call ESPN, CNN, Fox News, and every other media outlet possible to cover the event. Fund raise, demonstrate, bring awareness to the cancelation of Swimming (and other Olympic sports) programs. Most of America is unaware and unconcerned about the canceling of college swimming & diving programs. Use the University of Iowa and its hosting of the fastest swim meet in America to change that. Make it painful to go through with this decision.

  31. avatar
    Don Baker

    It is a sad day when swimming is becoming only a matter of money. As college swimming programs are being pummeled swimming in general is taking a huge hit. Swim clubs, municipal pools, YMCA pools,swim schools have limited access and many are closing. Kids are finding unsupervised water and drownings are way up. Scary and Heartbreaking.
    Swimming is a life saving skill and a great way to recreate, rehab, teach, train ,compete and the best form of non impact life time exercise.
    Swimming deserves much more consideration and respect!

  32. Jeff Dickson

    absolutely. Don’t put any money back into the economy there. And don’t show any support to that University. Swim wasn’t important enough for the University to keep the program, but I’m sure they have no problem taking money from the NCAA’s

    • Kelly Spencer Williams

      Jeff Dickson why not?! They gave their football coach a RAISE!! Guess they weren’t that strapped for cash 🤬😡

    • Jeff Dickson

      They just gave the coaches of the football team a raise. These coaches aren’t even having a season this year, by choice. Instead of giving them a raise, cut their salaries. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It’s not that difficult of a concept

    • Jeff Dickson

      I’m not. I’m agreeing with you, for agreeing with me 🤷🏼‍♂️

    • David Fierke

      Jeff Dickson the economic loss of NCAAs is over $1M taken from local businesses.

  33. Glen Steven

    University of Iowa does need support to cover the football coaching staff’s salary raises announced this week!😳😡
    Line up a site and rip it away from them!

  34. Scott Young

    Especially after Iowa gave raises to all of the football coaches.

  35. Michelle P Nicholos

    Has everyone read about the raise the football coaches received this week?!?1?!?1

  36. Cory Larsen

    Such an inept admin and management of funds. Weird how no other major power 5 schools had to cut programs and are financially managing through this. IMO some in admin (Barta) need to move on. Certainly no hosting of NCAA Men’s Swimming Championships. I won’t go. I will travel to wherever they go though. Maybe it doesn’t even mean anything to them.

    • Joanne Newton

      Cory Larsen did you see that the football coaches got raises? Infuriating.

  37. Diane Pavelin

    I’ve always said whenever an AD cites Title IX as a reason for cutting men’s minor sports (like swimming, gymnastics, wrestling)-

    I’ve never seen that money go directly to women’s sports. It usually ends up going to football and men’s basketball.

    Same thing here. Swimming gets cut, now using Covid-19 as the excuse, and football coaches get raises.

    This could be litigated as a Title IX issue. Iowa cuts a women’s team (swimming) under the guise of needing to trim the budget, and uses money saved to increase football coaches’ pay.

  38. Aimee Bennis-Schultz

    Absolutely. Those athletes deserved better- and that university deserves nothing for treating them like they didn’t matter. 🤬

  39. Paul Cate

    We should be in a time of equality, without discrimination for any reason. Equal access and treatment for all. Swimming has always been both sexes, training together on equal grounds. Only bureaucrats who know nothing about the sport would do this. If they knew, they’d treat swimming as the beacon of equality and fair treatment (of and by everyone associated with the sport – men, women, coaches, parents, officials et al) that it has been at least for the 59 years that I’ve been associated with it!!!!!! Wake up and smell the chlorine people!!

  40. Aleksandar Tasic

    Yep take it away.
    On the subject of fundraising to bring the team back, NO, these schools rake in millions, they can afford it, find other pressures.

  41. Andrea Boyle Ballard

    My daughter is a Freshman diver there and how that flipping AD treated all those athletes telling them 2 days before classes started and basically was in and out my daughter said in under 2 damn minutes!! Didn’t give a 💩 about these kids whatsoever. Utter bullshit how these kids were treated. So disappointed in this school. Now we start the process over and find her a new school/dive program

  42. Laura M Wanco

    This is disgraceful. Pull the NCAA swim tourney away.

  43. Raymond Coombs

    Poor decision, donors more than willing to fund the program and still shut it down. Very narrow minded.

  44. Patricia Buchanan

    Perhaps the football coach, the highest paid state employee in IA, could fund the program.

  45. Carole Anne

    Shameful. These athletes have worked for years to get to a D1 level.

  46. avatar
    Cynthia D

    There is a beautiful new pool in Wisconsin – move NCAA’s to a school that supports aquatics!

  47. Julie Tellier

    I thought it was all about football revenue? Was Iowa disingenuous or are they incompetent?? Take away NCAA Champs, they will mismanage the event.

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