Boise State Eliminates Women’s Swimming & Diving Program in Cost-Cutting Move

Boise State University athletic director Curt Apsey announced today the elimination of the baseball and swimming and diving teams. The move follows an in-depth review of the Athletic Department’s financial situation, exacerbated by challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team cuts, combined with other cost-saving measures, are expected to reduce the overall departmental budget by $3 million.

“This is one of the hardest decisions athletic departments have to make, but it comes at a time when we are facing the most serious financial challenge we have ever seen,” Apsey said. “Times like these are difficult for many people and we appreciate everyone who has supported these programs over the years, including our coaches, current and former student-athletes, donors and fans. We take all these measures seriously, knowing that the long-term stability of our department must remain a high priority.”

Boise State fielded 26 women on the swimming and diving roster in 2019-20, including 6 freshmen, 5 sophomores, and 10 juniors. The Broncos finished 7th at the 2020 Mountain West Conference Championships, down 4 spots from their 3rd-place finish in 2019. The team had struggled to maintain its level after Jeremy Kipp moved to Northwestern after the 2017-18 season. As the Broncos’ head coach, Kipp had been named Mountain West Swimming Coach of the Year for 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18.

Boise State added women’s swimming and diving in the 2006-2007 season and under head coach Kristin Hill quickly rose to become one of the best mid-major programs in the country. That included scoring points at the 2011, 2013, and 2014 NCAA Championship meets.

Boise State will continue to support men’s basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis, and track & field and women’s basketball, beach volleyball, cross country, golf, gymnastics, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. Boise State had just brought back the men’s baseball team which had been discontinued after the 1990 season. The Broncos played only 14 games in 2020 before the season was called off due to COVID-19.

All student-athlete scholarships for the affected programs will be honored, including incoming 2020 signees Emma Willmer, Haley Benjamin, Jessica Davis, Katie Faris, Lauren Gryboski, Maddy Mickey, Maxine Catig, Samantha Nickell, Victoria Gutierrez. Support will be provided to student-athletes wishing to transfer, all of whom will be eligible immediately at their next institution, per NCAA rules.

Much like with UMass Dartmouth, which announced on Wednesday that it was cutting 8 sports, the late timing of the announcement will leave those student-athletes wishing to transfer prior to next season in a difficult position. That includes the team’s lone top 3 finishers at last year’s Mountain West Championship meet, rising junior Lucia Davis, who finished 3rd with a 4:49.04.

Other schools that have cut swimming & diving programs this summer are:

  • UMass Dartmouth – men and women
  • UConn – men
  • East Carolina – men and women
  • Tiffin – men and women
  • Urbana – men and women (whole campus closed)
  • Western Illinois – men and women (“suspended indefinitely”)

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Gymbro Fisher
1 year ago

I guess the Smurf turf needs an upgrade.

My Fingers Hurt
Reply to  Gymbro Fisher
1 year ago

Ben

syd
Reply to  My Fingers Hurt
1 year ago

oof

swimgeek
1 year ago

Wow. Did NOT see this one coming. Brutal for our sport.

Swimfan
1 year ago

Not good for our sport. Football is going to need all the money I guess.

is UNCW still searching for a head coach? I hope they aren’t cutting the program. Haven’t seen anything since Jason Memont firing.

GA Boy
1 year ago

On the list of things I didn’t expect to see on SwimSwam today, this would be very high!

Coach
1 year ago

Dark days for college swimming. Terrible blow. I feel for the coaches, student-athletes, and alumni.

coach
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

We really need to see football played this year. No football could be catastrophic for our sport.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  coach
1 year ago

This. All of this. Every ounce of our sport (from the CSCAA to USA Swimming to anyone who has any pull within their athletic departments to anyone who has any voice anywhere) needs to make it known football has to happen (and can/should given the data and science we now know). Unfortunately too many don’t seem to understand this (from all Olympic Sports, not just swimming, and the media).

UCswim
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
1 year ago

Sorry, if it is unsafe for football to happen, why should the young men play football (for free!) put themselves at risk? I don’t think SEC, etc will willingly cancel football unless it is unsafe to proceed.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  UCswim
1 year ago

No kidding. Brilliant argument. We need to force football to save swimming. Meanwhile nobody wants to accept that our ignorant approach to coronavirus in March is going to lead to at least 12-18 months of illness, deaths and sacrifice. Fauci said today the new strain of coronavirus is 3-9 times easier to transfer. Very soon we will be at 100,000 new cases per day. Closures and cancellations are inevitable.

The Truth
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

Based on a quick internet search: (Please help verify these statistics.)

Roughly half of college football players are Black men. About 10% of competitive swimmers are People of Color.

Black football players and all other players should not feel a responsibility to save swimming. When all swimmers make it their duty to empower, embolden, and support Black Lives we will see football step up for other sports.

In addition, Black families are disproportionally impacted by COVID-19. Are football players not supposed to hug their parents who come to watch them play? Will college football end three weeks before Thanksgiving so all players can safely go home for the holiday season?

Swimmers should step up financially for swimmers right… Read more »

coach
Reply to  The Truth
1 year ago

I thought common sense would prevail here… “We need football season” assumes that this pandemic is under control.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  coach
1 year ago

Coach, here, per the CDC, we’re not in a pandemic anymore: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm

frug
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
1 year ago

Literally nothing in that web page says we are no longer in a pandemic.

Yes, deaths have slowed, but that does not mean the pandemic is over. Indeed part of the drop in deaths is the result of the counter measures that are in place.

The surge in Sun Belt cases shows what happens when you open up too quickly.

Hmmmmm
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

lmao, the 100 college aged students covid killed is so much damage we all need to close 🥱

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  UCswim
1 year ago

This needs to be data/science-driven. That (and every day, we’re learning more and more) says it will be safe, and will be ok. I’m not sure how else to explain this. There’s overwhelming data coming out (check out the myriad of things the CDC just dumped on their website the last 24 hours) saying, besides the very at-risk (which should be protected), the rest of the population is not at-risk, and should be going about their daily lives.

To shut down football (which will shut down virtually every other sport….think about literally the millions of lives that will be ruined, both educationally and economically in this scenario) for what is turning out to be a data point in normal daily… Read more »

frug
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
1 year ago

To shut down football (which will shut down virtually every other sport….think about literally the millions of lives that will be ruined, both educationally and economically in this scenario)

There are not millions of athletes and none will be harmed educationally since no one is going to have scholorships pulled or be thrown out of school even if there are no sports.

There’s overwhelming data coming out (check out the myriad of things the CDC just dumped on their website the last 24 hours) saying, besides the very at-risk (which should be protected), the rest of the population is not at-risk, and should be going about their daily lives

Find one link on the CDC website that everyone besides the… Read more »

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  frug
1 year ago

There’s 500,000 student-athletes in the NCAA. Then factor in virtually every employee of every school across all NCAA divisions that has anything to do with sports (from the usher at the football game to the ticket sales person to the coaches to the ATs to…everything). Then factor in the trickle-down effect in many of those sports at the youth/club level. Yes…millions (I’m not exaggerating here) of lives will be effected in a very negative way.

One link…I’ll give you a few (although like I said, I strongly urge you to dive through the entire data/link dump they’ve made in the last day or so).

Updated weekly summary as of today: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html There’s… Read more »

TXSwim
1 year ago

But they keep Volleyball AND beach Volleyball?

Swimfan
Reply to  TXSwim
1 year ago

Unfortunately pool maintenance cost more than volleyball court maintenance. And smaller roster number.

I_Said_It
Reply to  Swimfan
1 year ago

They rented the Boise YMCA.

Coach A
Reply to  I_Said_It
1 year ago

and gymnastics, which is very expensive and not a MW sport, if I have that correct

Swim Coach
Reply to  Coach A
1 year ago

Gymnastics is a sport that can actually attract some fans to buy tickets

Swim Coach
Reply to  Coach A
1 year ago

People actually buy tickets watch gymnastics

Admin
Reply to  Coach A
1 year ago

Boise State’s biggest attendance at a home gymnastics meet was 1,622 when they hosted BYU. BYU was ranked 19th in the country when last season ended, and Boise State was unranked.

The attendance when they travelled to UCLA to open the season was 7,424.

There is legitimate revenue to be made in gymnastics. Even when you’re not a top team, but especially when you’re a top team. Both in ticket sales, and sponsorships that are derived from attendance.

1,622 for a non-top 25 team is higher attendance than a lot of NCAA Championship meets get in swimming & diving.

Maybe, and call me crazy, it’s time for college swimming to drop the “THIS MEET DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE IT’S NOT… Read more »

The Importer AND Exporter
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

At LSU the gymnastics team averages 12,000 a meet. Done well it’s a very big time sport.

Corn Pop
Reply to  The Importer AND Exporter
1 year ago

Madame DD Breaux has been the coach since 1978 . She is amazing .

The Importer AND Exporter
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

After i hit submit on the last comment we were talking about college gymnastics vs swimming and idea came up – you could do ncaa champs qualifications similar to gymnastics: average a swimmer’s top 6 times over the season (eg 3 home and 3 away) instead of taking only the fastest. This would force swimmers to be on for all meets and would make the competition more interesting.

My son said “then Texas couldn’t take all but one meet off.”

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Send a memo to Eddie Reese.

The Importer AND Exporter
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

I’m sure he’d receive it well! lol 🙂

And then remind us that Texas doesn’t have gymnastics…

Swimfan
Reply to  I_Said_It
1 year ago

Oh I didn’t know that. But again, they are probably spending about about 60k per year for renting? And that’s probably still more than volleyball court.

Swimnick37
Reply to  I_Said_It
1 year ago

Only for meets and for a very limited amount of LC practices. Otherwise they were at the on campus facility. That facility is the practice home of the Boise Swim Club, hopefully they’re not planning on closing the pool.

Erik
Reply to  TXSwim
1 year ago

And it is typically the same kids on both teams.. rough stuff, nonetheless.

CoCoSWIM
1 year ago

This is so horrible. So sad and terrible for our sport.

GowdyRaines
1 year ago

The blue dye for the football field must have gone up

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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