Already two months has passed since the administration at Western Kentucky University announced the shocking news that its swimming and diving programs would be suspended for 5 years, with head coach Bruce Marchionda, associate head coach Brian Thomas, and head diving coach Chelsea Ale all being terminated as of June 1st. The decision to suspend the program was handed down in response to a Title IX investigation into allegations made by multiple former swimmers regarding hazing in the context of the coaching staff knowing about it and not taking any action.
At the time of the decision back in April, WKU Athletic Director Todd Stewart said, “Current student-athletes in the program will certainly be allowed to transfer immediately to another institution.” He further clarified at the time that, “If they choose to remain a student at WKU, their current scholarship amounts will be honored through their senior years provided they remain in good academic and university standing.”
Now, well into the month of June, according to Stewart “about 75% of swimmers have been able to transfer, and the ones that either weren’t able to or chose not to, provided they remain in good academic standing, we’re honoring whatever scholarship levels they were at. So I think everyone has moved forward in a positive way.” The most recent transfer announcements being that two of WKU’s biggest names, Fabian Schwingenschlogl and Nadine Laemmler, who will both be moving on to the University of Missouri.
With the suspension now in full effect, questions are being raised as to where the swimming and diving program’s allotted budget, estimated to be around $1.03 million, will now be redirected. According to the Courier Journal, Stewart “argued that because of the suspension, the program would lose NCAA subsidies and the number would round out to $780,000.” The AD went on to say that part of this unused budget will indeed be used for the remaining athlete’s scholarships, while the rest “will stay put until the programs are reinstated.”
In his statements within the Courier Journal article, Stewart indicated that “we just suspended the program and we plan to bring the program back.” He further stated, “So if we bring it back, we’ll need to have that money there. So right now we’ll keep the swimming fund as is.”