According to School President, University of South Carolina Swim Programs Could Be In Trouble

emma-barksdale-university of south carolina
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

According to School President, University of South Carolina Swim Programs Could Be In Trouble

University of South Carolina school president Robert Caslen rang the warning bell that cutting sports in order to save finances during the troubling times of the COVID-19 pandemic is not out of the question. At a board of trustees meeting on Tuesday, there had been discussions about cutting sports, namely men’s soccer, men’s and women’s swimming and diving and equestrian, according to a report from The State in Columbia, South Carolina. Caslen noted that cutting sports is not a preferred option, but could come into play.

“If we can preserve those teams, my desire is because of the goodness they provide our student athletes we would like to do that. There are unintended consequences like cutting pathways to professional or Olympic sports,” Caslen said. “I believe (not cutting is) the right thing to do. In the end, we may have to do it.”

The University of South Carolina opened the year facing a deficit of $40 million. With football attendance being one of its primary sources of funds, and with limited spectators in seats for each game this season, the budget has taken a hit, as it has in athletic departments all throughout the country.

Eight Division I schools have cut swimming & diving this off-season including East CarolinaConnecticutBoise StateDartmouthIowaWilliam & Mary, La Salle and Michigan State.

William & Mary has already reversed its decision and will bring back swimming and diving, but Olympic sports have found themselves on the chopping block this offseason during one of the most difficult financial times. 60 Minutes ran a profile piece on December 6 about the Olympic sports cut because of the pandemic’s financial issues it has caused. University of South Carolina president Caslen hoped that the suggested sports would not meet the same fate that other Division I schools decided.

“What’s the difference between a woman diver on the 10-meter diving board ready to do a triple flip than the starting quarterback of the Gamecock football team?’” Caslen said. “She’s using her talent for the betterment of herself, her future. She’s getting an education for her talents. She’s doing this for the team, for the university and for the community. Why would we want to deprive her of that of the tremendous opportunity? That’s true for any sport and any athlete out there.”

Last season, the University of South Carolina qualified five women’s swimmers and two men’s swimmers to the NCAA championships before the meet was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gamecocks are coached by McGee Moody and celebrated an SEC title last season from senior Itay Goldfaden in the 100 breaststroke. South Carolina also had three former swimmers compete in the International Swimming League this season in Emma BarksdaleBrandonn Almeida and Tom Peribonio.

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

I guess I don’t understand how cutting a swimming and diving program with a $40MM pre-pandemic deficit is anything more than a symbolic gesture and doesn’t do anything to help the deficit. Look to the big expenses like the excesses in football. This is not about making any kind of dent in the red ink at South Carolina.