University of North Dakota Cuts Swimming and Diving Program Amid Budget Cuts

The University of North Dakota has announced that the school will terminate its women’s and men’s swimming and diving program, along with its women’s hockey program, effective at the end of this school year.

Baseball was previously discontinued and men’s golf de-funded at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

School President Mark Kennedy had previously announced in October that the school would not be eliminating any athletic programs after swimming and diving had been one of six on the chopping block. But in January, the athletic department announced that it would need to cut a further $1.3 million from the school budget, according to the UND press release.

“This was a difficult decision. It’s a sad day when opportunities for student-athletes are reduced,” athletic director Brian Faison said, according to the release. “The University is going through campus-wide, state-mandated budget cuts. As a part of the University, we need to do what is in the long-term, best interests of the University, as well as the best interests of the athletics department.”

Kennedy also commented on the decision.

“This is a painful step to take for all parties involved, including me, but it is necessary given today’s budget realities,” Kennedy said. “My heart goes out to all those who are disrupted by this change. We are proud of the way they have represented UND.”

The school did announce that all scholarships for athletes on the discontinued teams will be honored.

The College Swim Coaches Association of America was involved in the original efforts to save the team in the fall, and CSCAA executive Joel Shinofield joined alumni, coaches and swimmers at meeting where they fought to save their team, which they thought at the time they had done successfully.

In a comment to Swimming World, Shinofield called North Dakota’s decision “short-sighted.”

“The teams at North Dakota, when tuition revenue and economic impact are taken into account, are economic positives for UND and the state of North Dakota,” Shinofield said. “Dropping these teams will eventually have a negative financial impact to the overall bottom line and eliminate programs that attract the best and brightest to North Dakota.”

According to a list of frequently-asked-questions released by the school, the programs will not be given time to secure their own funding for the future, as the cuts are effective immediately, and the programs will not be brought back, at least in the foreseeable future. The future of Hyslop Sports Center Pool is unknown.

Click here to find the full press release from the University of North Dakota.

52 Comments

52 comments

  1. Alexandre Anello

    I didn’t follow. They cut the cuts, so, it’s good, isn’t it?

  2. Pablo Valedon

    Extremely disappointing! If they have a football or basketball ball teams they should drop those too.
    Because the quality of student athletes these sports attract aren’t exactly glowing.
    Swimming and Diving bring in top notch academics. This is a very short sighted move by over paid CEO’S with little knowledge, about the value of a great athletic program.
    Find funding by tapping the big corporations that are in the state.
    Or all those sport apparel companies help fund the programs.

    • Harold Fennell

      Football and basketball make more money for the universities!!

    • Pablo Valedon

      Swimming could make as much just by hosting championship meets, at all levels and charge admissions., they also charge a recreation fee for the community to use the facility. Remember the same can be done with the diving program. Bring in corporate sponsors to help defray the cost of the program.
      Educational institutions should never sacrifice student development by dropping programs that will enhance student learning and experience. Instead of keeping some programs , because it brings in more money. Extremely short sighted.
      To me , the job of any educational institutions is student development instead of reducing it.
      This Republic is in a death spiral and will not survive. We are 25th in education in the world. This is approaching a third world levels.

  3. Susan Steeper Magnanelli

    My daughter swam her best 200 back ever at this pool for D2 NCAA championships, a Shippensburg University team record that still stands 14 years later. I am disappointed that a great sport like swimming is always the one that ends up cut. Swimmers train their butts off and maintain high GPAs. Very saddened to hear this. Kim Beaver

  4. Donna Phillips

    You must be kidding. that is just wrong

  5. Jane Mittelsteadt

    Wonder what they spend on football scholarships, etc ? Sad

  6. Dennis Brown

    Is this the same school that pays stipends to it’s Scholarship athletes?

  7. Charlene Tallen

    The University was gonna cut this program last year, then they said the they’d keep it. They told the Coach swimming was safe! We have friends on that team and friends scheduled to swim next year. This is SO unfair.

  8. David Ose

    I wonder what the University could get by selling the chandelier in the lobby of their hockey arena?

  9. David Estes

    I remember going there for Junior Nationals in 1990 when the pool was fairly new. It was actually very nice there. Sad to see it go.

    • Andy Vincent

      Hopefully the pool won’t go anywhere! The local club swim team is doing everything we can to keep swimming alive in Grand Forks

    • avatar
      Swim mom

      Yes, I think was 10 yrs old at that point and was one of the best pools in the upper Midwest (let’s not kid ourselves. We aren’t exactly TX or CA…)

  10. Pablo Valedon

    Where is the NCAA on all this? Or USA swimming?
    Or the alumni Association?
    Or the board of trustees that depend on attracting tuition paying student that value the athletic experience ,both as an athlete or spectator.
    Our society is slowly rotting away like the great empires in history.
    THE PAST IS PROLOGUE, anonymous

    • avatar
      Swim mom

      Former Sioux swimmer here. Admirably, all of the above stepped up to the plate and did an amazing job of putting together a phenomenal presentation last fall highlighting the impressive GPA’s, revenue the team generated above and beyond the athletic departments requirement, the highest amount of volunteer hours in the community, Olympic trial qualifiers, and so much more. The alumni has gotten together to begin the process of setting up an endowment program to keep it going. No time now.
      After the whole dog and pony show 6 coaches had to put on to defend their teams last fall, all were assured they would not be cut. Nope.
      They cut women’s hockey as well, and if I’m not mistaken, I THINK they sent 4 players to the Olympics.

  11. Coleen Kay Schulz

    Crap! Cut the Pres salary … kids need life time sport!!

  12. Mariana Vayanas

    OMG, horrible!!! Wars for eight years yet our schools slowly chip away!! This is truly heartbreaking 🙁 UCLA dumped their boys swim team years ago, horrible.

  13. Susan Bisbee Werner

    Of course, just cut the programs that don’t injure kids. These programs and sports just make them stronger citizens. I guess they need to pick another college. Unfortunately some don’t have that choice. Thank you big $

    • avatar
      Swim mom

      And for most of them, this is to late in the year to get scholarships as most programs have allocated their $ to other athletes already. Time to research schools, finals in a couple of months, yeah, that will work well for them…very poor timing.

  14. David Stark

    University of Maryland at College Park did this a couple of years ago. They have a marvelous natatorium, and it is used for rec swimming only until the State High School championships

  15. Jack Weldon

    Trevan Rafter haha I almost went there for that

  16. Asuka Forest

    Awww this reminds me of the days when we chanted Sioux Sucks. Is that rivalry with NDSU still going on?

  17. Asuka Forest

    Awww this reminds me of the days when we chanted Sioux Sucks. Is that rivalry with NDSU still going on?

  18. Joel Rittenhouse

    Sucks that swimming is always the sport of choice for the schools to cut!!

  19. avatar
    Bill Roberts

    Curious to see if the President or AD are willing to take cuts to their salary? Or perhaps examine other areas of the athletic department? They are the ones who own the budgeting process…..are the ones responsible for creating the budget crisis….and ironically the ones with the ax in hand & getting to make these decisions.

    Any AD or president who has to cut a sport should have to step down as well. If they cannot figure it out, find another profession. Bring in someone who can handle to job of running the program they inherited program.

  20. Tanya Penrod

    Timer Penrod, isn’t this where Nick went?

  21. Liz Kowalski

    Sad. Such a great sport. But since it’s not football or basketball who cares about it so stupid my son’s swim and I have felt all four years of high school that they were like red-headed step children money and new uniforms and the hype went to football and basketball. Sad sad sad.

  22. Scott Blanchard

    So what happens the the student athletes? Do they keep their scholarships, go somewhere else?

Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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