Below is a developing story. We will update with more details as they become available.
In a meeting with Athletic Director Joe Hull on Thursday afternoon, the College of Charleston varsity swimming & diving teams were informed that the program was being considered for a cut from the school’s athletics offerings. Several members of the team’s varsity program have confirmed the news.
The school did not immediately respond to an email or voicemail requesting comment.
According to one swimmer, the team was told in the meeting that they would be able to finish the season, but that there would be no 2015-2016 season. As is usual in these situations, the school has committed to honor scholarships through the end of their collegiate careers for those who choose not to transfer.
The team was given some hope at saving the program. The crux of the cutting of the program is due to repairs and renovations needed for the Theodore Stern Student Activities Center, which was built in 1974 and underwent a $2 million renovation that was completed in October 2000. The Athletics Director said that if $1.5 million could be raised to contribute to the costs of keeping an aging pool running, then the possibility of saving the program could be discussed.
If a solution to the pool is not found, according to one swimmer the pool will be converted into meeting space and offices.
One member of the team said that the team was “upset about a lack of communication” from the athletic department, saying that they knew the pool was failing but chose not to find a solution until the last minute. That same team, though, says that in the immediate aftermath of the news, the athletes are prepared to fight to save their program and “won’t accept no for an answer.”
This is the first Division I program to be up for cutting since UNC-Wilmington saved their program from being cut. The University of Maryland cut their swimming program after the 2011-2012 season.
College of Charleston competes in the Colonial Athletic Association, where last season the men finished 6th and the women 7th.