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UW-River Falls to suspend swimming and diving programs in budget cuts

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls announced today it would be suspending both its men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs starting in 2014 due to budget cuts to the athletic department.

The school termed it a “suspension” of the programs, though there is no indication that this is a temporary move. The school also “suspended” its wrestling, baseball and women’s gymnastics teams in 2003, and none of those sports has returned to UWRF’s athletic department in the 10 years since.

River Falls has been dealing with budget cuts in its athletic department for the past several years according to a press release, and had already closed down its pool following the 2010 season to save money.

A review of the school’s athletic department led to Athletic Director Roger Ternes recommending that the swimming and diving programs be suspended, and the the Faculty Senate Athletic Committee voted in agreement with that recommendation. UWRF Chancellor Dean Van Galen officially announced the decision today.

The swimming and diving programs costed $56,366.54 for the 2013-2014 school year, according to the school. The school plans to cut its overall budget by 1.7 million, with just over $48,000 of that coming from the athletic department.

Chancellor Van Galen said the suspension was a result of “UWRF overreaching in trying to operate an athletics program beyond its facility and financial resources,” but also said that “a reduction in state support for higher education and a two-year tuition freeze have played a role in this process.”

The Division III and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) school had offered a men’s swim team since 1960 and a women’s team since 1975.

Comments

  1. Josh says:
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    This can become even bigger news if it spreads through the UW school system. Unlike most d3 conferences, all of the WIAC schools are a part of the same school system and no doubt take cues from one another. I hope this is isolated, but doubt it will be.

  2. Alex says:
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    I’m extremely dissapointed with the UWRF Athletic Department and AD Ternes. This was not the first time that their swim/dive program was in danger of being cut. In the five years since then, they never came up with a solution to the problems facing the program. I understand it was a financial decision but this also endangers WIAC Swimming and Diving on the whole as the conference is now reduced to five schools.

  3. Student of UWRF says:
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    As a student of UWRF I was at all the meetings pertaining to the suspension of the team and the athletic department never offered solutions to possible retain the program

    • Sven says:
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      What solutions did the swim team propose? The team had a much more vested interest in keeping the program alive, so I’m sure ideas were presented. I’d like to know the athletic department’s reasons for not giving it a shot.

      • Student of UWRF says:
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        The team was all for fundraising but the athletic dept. said that since the new falcon center which is tailored to all the sports BUT the swim team that basically there was not going to be a future for the team.

  4. 1
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    Totally unnecessary. The swim team could host 2 fundraising events (e.g golf tournament and a Dinner Gala) per year and easily raise $56K to run the program. The Sun Devil Swimming Association has raised $1M in the past 5 years to support the ASU Swim team so it can be done! The alumni should bring their own funding and ask the University to reinstate the program and maintain/promote the college swimming experience!

    • Sven says:
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      Playing Devil’s advocate here, but if the swim team could do that, why didn’t they? I have no way of knowing, but if the swimmers offered to shoulder the burden then I can’t see why the administration would deny them the chance.

      • ChestRockwell says:
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        Remember what happened in Maryland? The school said the team had (I don’t remember exactly so i’m going to make it up and likely exaggerate) like, four weeks to raise $5 million. It was an insurmountable number, which was likely the idea. And they have a great facility that is still operating. I still don’t understand that move.

        • Sven says:
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          If that’s what happened in this case as well, then it’s a real shame and the team got a really raw deal.

          Either way, it seems like the athletic department at this school has issues. If I were the director, I’d try to be more proactive about things like this– you can only cut so many programs before you’re out of a job.

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About Jared Anderson

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Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career sixteen years and running wasn’t enough for this native Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. Read More »