Delaware Suspends 19 Members of Swimming & Diving Program for Corona-Violations

The University of Delaware, which was one of the first college programs in the country to welcome its swimming & diving program back to campus for official team workouts, has suspended 19 members of that team for violating COVID-19 protocols.

The suspensions will bar those student-athletes from “all athletic related activities.” A spokesperson for the athletics department says that the suspensions are of various lengths with the minimum being 6 weeks up to the full semester of athletics activities.

The suspensions came after notification that there was “a large indoor social gathering hosted on September 26, 2020 at an off campus residence,” the school says. That violates both the Newark, Delaware city ordinance for indoor gatherings as well as the school’s COVID-19 guidelines and the student-athlete social pledge.

UD student-athletes and staff that are currently on campus for the fall semester are placed in an ongoing campus surveillance testing pool where groups will be tested twice a week.

“We have spoken to our student-athletes at length about their responsibility of being back on campus.  The protocols and guidelines put into place are ones that must be followed for us to provide a safe environment for not only the University, but our community as well.” Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services Chrissi Rawak said. “While we have been fortunate with the behavior from a majority of our student-athletes in following the guidelines and social pledge. we cannot let up, we must stay focused and disciplined in all of our choices.”

The school says that none of the swimmers in question tested positive and that all were quarantined. The school, by policy, does not disclose identities of anybody who tests positive.

The week after that social gathering, however, Delaware did see its highest weekly count of positive cases among students and employees with 80.

Many universities across the country have suspended students and athletes for similar offenses during the fall semester. That same weekend, for example, another Division I program, the University of Denver, suspended 38 members of the swimming & diving program for a similar offense, though people around that program claim that the gathering in Denver was outdoors.

Delaware welcomed its swimmers & divers back to campus for voluntary conditioning workouts on June 10th. Last season, the Delaware women finished 5th out of 7 teams at the CAA Championships, while the Delaware men finished 5th out of 5 teams. The school has not released a swimming & diving schedule nor any specific plans for their path forward in winter season athletics like swimming & diving, though their football team is not playing this fall.

The CAA has adopted what it calls an “extreme flexibility model” for Olympic sports scheduling for 2020-2021, under which each CAA institution has committed to play at least the minimum number of contests per sport to meet NCAA sport sponsorship requirements. Each school also has the option of schedule additional games, up to the NCAA maximum, if they so choose.

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Black Mamba
2 years ago

As a past member of the UDel swim and dive team, there are many structural problems that need to be fixed. For one, this team is not a family, the coaches have repeatedly swept issues under the rug that didn’t benefit themselves. When multiple of my friends were going through serious mental health problems, the coaches did not know how to handle it, at all. And they need to, whether it’s mental health training or just asking your athletes how they are. There is no personability from the coaches, no empathy, no compassion and quite frankly no morals. I left this team because I did not feel safe, I left because they’ve let down so many people that I care… Read more »

Also anonymous...
Reply to  Black Mamba
2 years ago

Yep. What he/she said. Have heard all the same. What is also interesting is that the news article UDReview states that 27 were at the party and 4 have been cut from the team and another 4 have appealed the cut. The news article says all have tested negative. Are they referring to the 19 students as being negative or the 27? Sources within the team have said that a female has tested positive.
The AD stated that they were quarantined to protect the surrounding community. Current swimmers say the head coach has secured pool space off campus and is requiring the team to practice. How is that protecting the community?

Anonymous
Reply to  Black Mamba
2 years ago

That’s interesting because I was a past member of the team as well and, like MANY other schools and teams, there have been extremely tough issues that everyone has has to go through. Situations that are difficult for each and every person involved. This team, staff, and administration has provided me love, care, and support when I needed it most. Each person has their own experience from a different perspective but this post CERTAINLY does not represent the popular opinion of this team and program.

Anonymous
Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

Did you swim for the previous coach? He was actually a nice person who provided “love, care, and support” to his swimmers. The current coach does not. The current coach is the reason so many swimmers have quit the team since he got there just over two years ago.

Going to a party is clearly against the rules. BUT the punishment is not being given equitably, and it is too extreme.

anon
Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

I actually did. Both sets of coaches were absolutely amazing. The current coach changed the intensity of the team and those who no longer wanted to put in the work to be a part of that chose to leave.

Anonymous
2 years ago

There is some confusion about the code of conduct. The University Code of Conduct posted below is very clear. The athletes broke that. What this article doesn’t spell out is that the athletes were put on probation and fined by the University. Parents were contacted by mail from the University.

They were ALSO suspended by the team. Those guidelines are the ones that are less clear. Other athletes have participated in much larger gatherings with no suspension. That’s the only thing that should be questioned.

Also anonymous...
Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

So where are they practicing now that they are suspended?

SwimFani
Reply to  Also anonymous...
2 years ago

As long as off campus and voluntary all good – hard to break the spirit of high achievers!

Swimfan
2 years ago

Another example of Admin that wants to cut their swim team.
SAD.

Anonymous
2 years ago

I’m watching college football today and I’m even more appalled at this suspension.

Swimmer
2 years ago

RIP CAA swimming

Tell the truth
2 years ago

But the UD Athletic Department did ask the student athletes to tell on their teammates for any “COVID” related infractions and let’s just say they probably got what they wanted in this case.

No I in Team.

Anonymous
Reply to  Tell the truth
2 years ago

My understanding as well. Their own “teammates” told on them. Those teammates also have violated school guidelines.

SwimFani
Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

They are not “teammates” if they told on peers….

GowdyRaines
2 years ago

Schools are looking for any excuse to cut non revenue generating sports. Guarantee this just put swim on UDels radar.

Swimfan
Reply to  GowdyRaines
2 years ago

I think it was already on the cut radar for UDEL. That’s *why* the admin / AD was harder on swim than other sports. Finding any excuse to cut swimming. So sick of this!

bystander
2 years ago

Student athletes are seeing the worst of covid regulations now being forced to live in a bubble for 2 months. Mental health is going out the window and everyone loses. Take care of our athletes!

SwimFani
Reply to  bystander
2 years ago

Exactly!!!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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