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.