Boston University Swimming and Diving is in a tough spot after learning that the Athletic Department has decided to eliminate all of the men’s scholarships and just slightly more than nine of the fourteen women’s scholarships in an effort to save money. The women will still have 4.9 scholarships for their team.
In a meeting on Tuesday morning on the pool deck, Athletic Director Drew Marrochello met with the team to inform them that their scholarships will be phased out. Although there is no indication the department will be cutting the team, many are still worried because of the similar situation the wrestling team was in a few years prior.
Boston University Athletics has acknowledged our questions but have not yet provided answers.
Both the men’s and women’s programs were fully funded prior to the Athletic Department’s announcement to the team this week. With the cost of attendance totaling over over $60,000 per year, eliminating nearly nineteen scholarships will save the department over $1,000,000 per year. The team was told that their current scholarships would be honored through their four years, but no new scholarships will be added.
Alumnus Lincoln Kupke, Class of 2015, told us that members of the team asked why they can’t eliminate one scholarship from each team instead of eliminating the swim team’s funding. The response they received however, was unfavorable, stating that eliminating the swim team’s scholarships was the best option.
Boston University was in a similar situation during the 2013-2014 school year when Athletic Director Mike Lynch eliminated the funding for the universities wrestling team and cut the program at the end of the season. This came just months after the International Olympic Committee voted to drop wrestling from its schedule for the 2020 games.
Kupke also told us that head swim coach Bill Smyth met with Lynch after the program had been cut to ask about the future of the swim team. According to Kupke, Coach Smyth was told that the swim programs would not be cut.
During the 2013-2014 school year, Lynch and Boston University received a ton of criticism from the student-athletes and members of the media. National media outlets such as the Boston Globe, USA Today, and ESPN picked up the story, along with smaller wrestling-focused media outlets, similar to SwimSwam within the swimming community. The wrestling program received a ton of support from around the country, but ultimately the program was still cut. Following that season, Lynch resigned from his role as the Director of Athletics. He never gave a reason for why he chose to resign from his role, but he did tell the media at the time that he did not yet know what the future held for him.
At the same time Lynch made the decision to cut the Wrestling program, the current Athletics Director Drew Marrochello was also on Lynch’s staff as the Deputy Director of Athletics. As the Deputy Director of Athletics, he oversaw all of the daily operations, it’s 24 varsity sports and $25 million budget. In addition, he had direct oversight of the business office and coordinated all of the revenue generation for the department.