A Look at Western Kentucky University Two Months After Program Suspension Announcement

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.”

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5 years ago

I don’t understand the suspension of the program. Fire the coaches (done) remove the offending athletes (done) allow the innocents to transfer if they desire (done) and continue the program with a reset with new coaches and athletes. Suspending the program just hurts the sport.

Chris Goodman (WKU Swimmer)
5 years ago

From a swimmer who was involved I can tell you that we haven’t moved on in a positive way. I no longer look at my university with pride and I don’t trust the man this story is about. For him to think he knows what I have gone through is an understatement. My swimming family has been split up, across the nation. Nothing will take back what this decision has done – I have lost true brothers and sisters. While I understand that some allegations were true I can whole heartedly say that 2/3rds were proven false and do not justify the severe punishment. On another note, I’ll believe the budget when I see it. Several teammates who were forced… Read more »

Reply to  Chris Goodman (WKU Swimmer)
5 years ago

Zero tolerance for sexual assault. Zero.

Chris Goodman (WKU Swimmer)
Reply to  T
5 years ago

The sexual assault was part of the police report that was proven false. I am not naive enough to fight for something if I didn’t think it was true.

Reply to  T
5 years ago

Collin Craig’s baseless accusations of sexual assault turned out to be false. The police contacted the alleged victim and she said she wasn’t sexually assaulted.

Reply to  T
5 years ago

Hey T, you might want to write a letter to Duke University. You know they allowed the Lacrosse team to stay on AFTER 3 Lacrosse players raped a poor woman. ZERO tolerance for sexual assault you know. And there was as much sexual assault at WKU as there was at the Duke University Lacrosse party.

5 years ago

Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!!!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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