CSCAA Head: Dartmouth Cut Is “Stark Example of Inept Leadership”

Greg Earhart, executive director of the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America, spoke out about Dartmouth’s decision to cut the mens and women’s swimming and diving teams in a letter sent by email to Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon.

In his email, Earhart calls the decision “a stark example of inept leadership.” He also cites four ways DCSD “epitomizes everything an intercollegiate program should be:

  • Successful Athletically – Big Green swimming and diving has never been more successful. This year alone Justin Sodokoff was named All-American while Connor LaMastra was the Ivy League runner-up in the 500 freestyle.
  • Academically Superior – Dartmouth swimming and diving alumni accomplishments are too numerous to list here. What can be said is that the Big Green has been recognized as a Scholar All-America team every semester since at least 2007.
  • Vital to the Community – Nationally, drowning is the second-leading cause of death among children and nearly two-thirds of Black children cannot swim. Dartmouth’s teams play a vital role in combating this having taught nearly two thousand Upper Valley children to swim.
  • Loyal and Connected – Since the team’s near-elimination in 2002, Dartmouth swimming and diving alumni have been especially connected and generous with the university. This is a group that has been especially appreciative of the opportunity provided by the College and, when asked, especially responsive to appeals for support.”

Despite standout swimmers listed by Earhart, at last season’s Ivy League Championships the DCSD men’s team finished 8th and the women’s team finished 7th out of the 8 Ivy League teams.

However, last month DCSD physically demonstrated their contributions to the Upper Valley community by placing 853 pairs of goggles on the Dartmouth Green in front of the library, representing the 853 children who have participated in DCSD’s swim school program in the past 5 years. Afterwards, the goggles were donated to the Trident Swim Foundation.

Both Hanlon and Sheehy were reportedly out of town during the demonstration. However, DCSD athletes received an email response from President Hanlon afterwards saying, “That’s a great thing for you to do that makes Dartmouth proud.”

Earhart ends his letter by saying, “While the fiscal challenges faced by the college are real, more effective leadership would have engaged the swimming and diving community to develop solutions…This is a program that has created transformational educational experiences, experiences that are, sadly, not valued by the institution.”

DCSD’s campaign to get reinstated has raised over $1.3 million in pledges so far.

FULL TEXT OF EARHART’S  LETTER:

August 15, 2020

Sent via electronic mail

Philip J. Hanlon

President, Dartmouth College

Dr. Hanlon:

While it is the position of the CSCAA to oppose the elimination of any intercollegiate athletic program, Dartmouth’s decision to eliminate swimming and diving is especially concerning.

In many ways, Dartmouth’s swimming and diving teams epitomize everything an intercollegiate program should be.

  • Successful Athletically – Big Green swimming and diving has never been more successful. This year alone Justin Sodokoff was named All-American while Connor LaMastra was the Ivy League runner-up in the 500 freestyle.
  • Academically Superior – Dartmouth swimming and diving alumni accomplishments are too numerous to list here. What can be said is that the Big Green has been recognized as a Scholar All-America team every semester since at least 2007.
  • Vital to the Community – Nationally, drowning is the second-leading cause of death among children and nearly two-thirds of Black children cannot swim. Dartmouth’s teams play a vital role in combating this having taught nearly two thousand Upper Valley children to swim.
  • Loyal and Connected – Since the team’s near-elimination in 2002, Dartmouth swimming and diving alumni have been especially connected and generous with the university. This is a group that has been especially appreciative of the opportunity provided by the College and, when asked, especially responsive to appeals for support.

For all the qualities Dartmouth swimming and diving epitomizes, its athletic department has provided a stark example of inept leadership. It shows a complete disconnect with the local community and, in eliminating a racially- diverse program, illustrates a shocking tone-deafness to society today. While the fiscal challenges faced by the college are real, more effective leadership would have engaged the swimming and diving community to develop solutions.It is heartbreaking to read the testimonials of former Dartmouth swimmers and divers. This is a program that has created transformational educational experiences, experiences that are, sadly, not valued by the institution.

Yours Truly,

 

Greg Earhart

Executive Director

College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association of America

 

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John Bash
2 years ago

Let’s keep the swimming and diving teams for the reasons listed by the swimmers. Alumni will be happy to raise whatever sums will be required to keep the teams functioning. These are difficult times but let’s try not to take irreversible actions.

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  John Bash
2 years ago

Great point – Now you must commit your $250,000 share to save D-mo swimming!

Kenneth Brady
2 years ago

Nice job. I am curious why we are stating how much money we have raised to reinstate the DSDT as the program has been a financially self-sufficient entity since the last attempt to cut it. And, piggybacking on this notion, why is the Dartmouth College President discussing financial restraints on the college when, again, the DSDT program is financially self-sufficient?

The pool and facilities will remain intact; they are used by the community off and on during the year, so the cost maintain the facility cannot be the referential point.

The salaries, the employee benefits, the chlorine are all paid for by the private sector.

I am definitely confused.

financial swamalyst
Reply to  Kenneth Brady
2 years ago

Jesus. Another with the “tuition is revenue” argument.

ITTTTT ISSSSSNNNNN’T. Tuition covers the costs of educating you. You don’t get to claim it as covering the cost of training you as well.

If you believe that your tuition covers the cost of your training, then go ahead and drop out of college. You could get way better coaching for the ~$25,000/year that the average Dartmouth student pays in tuition.

Admin
Reply to  financial swamalyst
2 years ago

I think he may be referring to the endowment that was established when they tried to cut the team circa 2002. That endowment wasn’t designed to be perpetual; it was designed to be drawn down to fund expenses for 10 years, and was exhausted in 2013. I’m not sure if there’s been some other fund established since then, but if there has been, I’m not aware of it.

deepsouth
Reply to  financial swamalyst
2 years ago

This and……

You really don’t think Dartmouth doesn’t have a deep pool of candidates to choose from to replace the ~40 kids that might not be there if there is no swimming?

If the university isn’t elite and can’t fill their available slots, it’s a more compelling argument (having said that colleges will just continue to lower standards to fill them) but an Ivy? Nah.

meeeee
2 years ago

I hope the CSCAA is doing this for all schools that cut programs. I am convinced most are doing it to save or shore-up football. Dartmouth is likely different as Ivy’s don’t provide athletic scholarships.

John
Reply to  meeeee
2 years ago

I imagine the swimmers/staff reached out to get a personal letter of endorsement which is fair. These governing bodies/conferences/LSC’s are going to have to switch the advocacy gear into overdrive now. Writing a letter of endorsement to a school that has already decided to close its doors is much harder than a school that is still in discussion phase of closing.

meeeee
Reply to  John
2 years ago

Understood, but having been through this in my family x2, and also reading these announcements on SwimSwam where everyone seemed to be ‘blindsided’ by the decision….there really is never a time of ‘discussion phase’. I guess maybe they should write a letter now to each and every D1 school with certainly men’s swim (and probably women’s also) because i’m sure they all have or are considering it.

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  John
2 years ago

They can write all the letters they want – I am certain it will make ZERO difference.

Yaboi
2 years ago

Thank you Greg. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Tough
2 years ago

Taking off the gloves. Love it. Fantastic letter.

Coach DL2
2 years ago

Well done, Greg. Thanks for working hard on behalf of all our college swim & dive programs!

About Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika came into the sport competitively at age eight, following in the footsteps of her twin sister and older brother. The sibling rivalry was further fueled when all three began focusing on distance freestyle, forcing the family to buy two lap counters. Annika is a three-time Futures finalist in the 200 …

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