Eastern Michigan Cuts Men’s Swimming & Diving Team After 34 MAC Titles

Division I Eastern Michigan University has announced that it will cut its men’s swimming & diving team. The program is one of 4 that the university will drop, reducing its sport offerings from 21 to 17. Women’s swimming & diving is not being cut, with softball, women’s tennis, and wrestling being the other 3 sports that the school will drop. The school previously had the richest sport offering in the Mid-American Conference, and will remain in that conference after the drops.

The decision impacts 58 male student-athletes and 24 female student athletes and is expected to eventually lead to a $2.4 million expense reduction.

Director of athletics Scott Wetherbee said the announcement was made in mid-March in order to “allow the student-athletes as much time as possible to find new schools at which they can continue in their sports, if they choose to do so.”

The Eastern Michigan swimming & diving season ended last weekend at the women’s NCAA Championship meet, where Delaney Duncan of the unaffected women’s team became the school’s first-ever female swimming A-Finalist at NCAAsJacob Hanson was the school’s most recent male first team All-American, having placed 4th in the 200 back at the 2013 NCAA Championships and 7th the year prior.

EMU’s men’s team finished 2nd at this year’s MAC Championships out of 6 teams, but won the 3 previous titles and 34 title since the MAC started sponsoring men’s swimming in 1953.

“We are very saddened by having to make this move, which is necessary as we continue to align the University budget with enrollment and state funding trends,” said University President James Smith. “This aligns us with our Mid-American Conference peers in total number of sports, and is part of our ongoing effort to realign resources to ensure that we continue to invest in high-demand high-quality academic programs and world-class facilities.”

“The student-athletes affected by this are our priority. We will honor all athletics scholarships for the students should they decide to remain at Eastern to complete their degrees, which we hope they will.”

“We understand that some may leave Eastern to continue their sport at another university, and we have committed to offering them our full support in that process. We have wonderful student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff here at Eastern who make a tremendous contribution to campus life – in competition, in class and in our greater community. This is a difficult day for all of them, and for all of us.”

Members of the swimming & diving team were notified late on Monday evening that they had a mandatory meeting on Monday morning at 7:30. The news was released publicly by the university while the swimmers were in that meeting being told directly.

About 80% of Eastern Michigan’s athletics department is subsidized by the school’s general fund, meaning that about $1,000 of each Eastern Michigan student’s tuition goes toward athletics. According to the USA Today, in the 2015-2016 season, that was $24 million out of a $30 million budget. Most of that money goes to the football team, which the school is required to have to be a member in the MAC, and a team that finished 5-7 last season. The school also announced a recent $35 million on athletic upgrades, mostly on a practice facility for the school’s football and soccer teams.

The University at Buffalo, another MAC team, announced a cut in its men’s swimming program at the end of last season.

Eastern Michigan’s football program has won 1 MAC Conference title in its history, in 1987. The softball program won 1 MAC softball conference tournament title in 2007 (the MAC has sponsored softball since 1982), the men’s wrestling team has won 1 MAC title (1996), and women’s tennis has won 1 MAC title (1998).

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Dave Remos
3 years ago

Well Miami just keeps moving up the rankings by default. Hollie’s vision for her team is coming to fruition. Good for her.

I_Said_It
Reply to  Dave Remos
3 years ago

What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it

Cmon
Reply to  I_Said_It
3 years ago

A simple no woulda done the trick

Coach John
Reply to  Cmon
3 years ago

if you can’t handle a Van Wilder quote you need to step away from the net. that was spot on

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  Coach John
3 years ago

It’s Billy Madison

swimws
Reply to  Dave Remos
3 years ago

Don’t worry Miami will be next

seriously
Reply to  Dave Remos
3 years ago

That’s the dumbest thing i’ve read in a long time.

Shame on You
Reply to  Dave Remos
3 years ago

The team with 34 MAC championships was just cut, devastating 30 athletes and their families, and all you can think about is how another team will move up in rankings? shame on you.

SheCanCoach
Reply to  Dave Remos
3 years ago

What does another school’s program have to do with a program being cut at EMU? Stick to the topic and give up bashing a female coach.

Dave Remos
Reply to  SheCanCoach
3 years ago

whoa! why cant she be a just “a coach”? why do you have to bring up the fact that she’s a female?

SheCanCoach
Reply to  Dave Remos
3 years ago

Dave considering all your posts on here are consistently bashing Miami Ohio and their head coach, no matter what the topic may be about, makes one wonder what the point of it all is. I only wish SwimSwam moderators did a better job at protecting coaches and athletes in these comments better from defamatory/slanderous allegations. Especially when in not relation to the current topic. Just google “Dave Remos” and swim, 7 hits. All SwimSwam articles harassing Hollie and Miami Ohio Swimming.

paul goyet
Reply to  SheCanCoach
3 years ago

You bring up a very good point! He should put his real name on the posts just like everybody does on here.

alexis texas
Reply to  paul goyet
3 years ago

It’s 2018 and I think it’s totally inappropriate for someone to assume what gender anyone else identifies as! Whether it’s male, female, cis, zi, re or gy! So rude!

Dave Remos
Reply to  SheCanCoach
3 years ago

Should be 9 hits but who’s counting.

SwimMom
Reply to  Dave Remos
3 years ago

I’m guessing the original poster did not think this comment out. Frankly, it is quite hurtful. A loss of any swim program is a loss for our entire community. No one is winning here. It is sad for the swimmers and families affected and it is sad for all of us. Let me suggest that you delete this comment. SwimSwam should be a place where we support one another.

Swim Mom, not a coach.
Reply to  SwimMom
3 years ago

Well said swim Mom. Frankly I think it’s disgusting for Eastern to cut any of the teams, for the sake of “budget”..ie more money in their pockets. This has to stop. We are asking ALL teams, take a picture with a simple sign, #SaveEMUswimanddive and a call or two to the AD’s office would be a great idea as well. (The same AD who is from the south and clllllll about football…smh)

The Screaming Viking!
3 years ago

absolutely disgusting

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  The Screaming Viking!
3 years ago

they seem to cut down the fundings for a wonderful sport ….not the first time we have heard that . A Real shame , i agree on that

Nick Gayes
3 years ago

My heart goes out to EMU. Says a lot about our priorities when a top tier team with that kind of history, getting it done in the pool and classroom, can’t survive. It’s a real shame.

200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
Reply to  Nick Gayes
3 years ago

Scrap 4 more sports teams to save a losing football squad? Stoopid is as stoopid does.

John mehki
Reply to  200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
3 years ago

Of course y’all know why football stays? Has to, for university to remain in specific tier. AND, nobody buys a ticket to watch swim meets. I speak from personal experience having been a springboard guy at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI from ‘72 to ‘76. Water was always cold up there. My HS coache’s boy Tom Michael (we were both state champs) was Eastern’s diving coach for years. He coaches in Australia now. What a great bunch of lads there. I had a ball and was never allowed to buy a beer.

I_Said_It
3 years ago

Bowling Green, Toledo, Ohio, EMU… If I’m not mistaken, all dropped since 2001 and Ball State has been on life support ever since the school cut funding..

I_Said_It
Reply to  I_Said_It
3 years ago

What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it

Swim
Reply to  I_Said_It
3 years ago

Buffalo cut last year too

EMu
Reply to  I_Said_It
3 years ago

Plus Buffalo

ArtVanDeLegh10
Reply to  I_Said_It
3 years ago

Northern Illinois was cut after 2003.

Pennsylvania Tuxedo
3 years ago

Director of athletics Scott Wetherbee said the announcement was made in mid-March in order to “allow the student-athletes as much time as possible to find new schools at which they can continue in their sports, if they choose to do so.”

What a clown. You’re not a hero for only screwing these kids over a little bit instead of a lot. If you had the guts and really wanted to give them as much time as possible, you would have announced it in October.

swimmermama
Reply to  Pennsylvania Tuxedo
3 years ago

My thoughts exactly! The AD thinks mid-March is enough time? He clearly has no regard for these athletes.

35 lb.
Reply to  Pennsylvania Tuxedo
3 years ago

Both Wetherbee and president Smith sound like clowns, however the issue lies with Wetherbees predecessor, Smith and an equally “ambitious”, arrogant board of regents.

About 1 1/2 – 2 years ago, EMU was gifted 6 million from a successful grad who is now “anonymous” according to their website. This set the athletic department into overdrive with plans to use the money to build new soccer fields, turfed indoor facilities with 300 meter track, weight rooms, office/meeting rooms, sports performance building, etc. all totaling 35 million. The plans were shared with students, alumni and the public.

Forward to this past Dec, 2017 and the board of regents passed a $76 million capital improvement plan that included a $20 million… Read more »

JP input too short
3 years ago

W. T. F.

Yooz
3 years ago

How are these incoming freshman supposed to find another program? Most college apps are long overdue and scholarship money for other programs is more than likely s gone. Best of luck to these athletes, these incoming freshman must be extremely stressed right about now.

Paul Allen
3 years ago

EMU should cut the teams that suck year after year like Football. No one goes to the games.

2 Cents
Reply to  Paul Allen
3 years ago

Man… I agree so much with this… but one problem. $$

10 people at a football game and broadcasting it on a local station still brings in more revenue than swimming does over 20 seasons.

And honestly, football was probably the only thing keeping the men’s swimming alive for so long. I hate to say it, and it pains me to say it, but swimming at almost every school exists because of football and basketball…. without that money, most programs would not exist.

Bsswimc
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

2 cents, You obviously aren’t too familiar with Eastern’s football program.

Ashley Rowland
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

Your argument doesn’t make sense for EMU Men’s swimming. The total cost of attendance at EMU: $38,000 (out of state, which many swimmer are). The approximate roster size = 34 swimmers/divers, thus, the total cost of attendance for 34 swimmers/divers: $1,292,000. There are 9.9 athletic scholarships awarded which = $376,200. That means that an estimated revenue LOSS for Eastern Michigan of $915,800 by cutting Men’s Swimming and Diving. Furthermore, according to Equality in Athletics Data Analysis, the 2016-17 Eastern Michigan University Men’s Swimming and Diving operating budget was a mere $84,311. The cost of a Men’s Swimming and Diving program is negligible when you have a Women’s team that shares a facility and coaching staff. Not to mention EMU just… Read more »

Abe
Reply to  Ashley Rowland
3 years ago

You are assuming that those 34 swimming spots are in addition and will not be filled by other students, which they will. So no it is still saving $376,200 just from scholarship loss. Staff also will have to be cut down, I believe it is 3 max. Usually there are many other expenses that are not reported in the general operating budget as well. Look I swam and coached, but to be honest swimming is a money pit and brings nothing of value to the general student body. However, the fact that they are putting that much into other sports facilities yet still relies on 80% of the budget from the student body is outrageous. I would advocate for cutting… Read more »

Joe
Reply to  Abe
3 years ago

I think you are wrong here. The budgeting issue arose due to less than anticipate credit hour production from the student body. This is a fancy way of saying reduced enrollment. If there were 34 additional qualified students knocking down the door looking to fill in the spots of the 34 male student athletes on the swim team, Eastern would have already accepted them into the school to make up for the reduced credit hour production issue they are currently facing. The fact is, Ashley Rowland is 100% correct, Eastern is likely going to LOSE money form this decision, because htey are going to lose the tuition of 34 athletes (minus the 9.9 scholarships, and whatever out of state waivers… Read more »

IUkicker
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

Intercollegiate athletics are supposed to exist to develop another facet of a student’s character. Schools that only value revenue generating sports have, very sadly, lost sight of this.

Abe
Reply to  IUkicker
3 years ago

Yes but you are also looking at putting the value of 30 students over the general population at a relatively high cost. People have also lost sight of the what colleges are suppose to exist for.

SwimCoachDad
Reply to  2 Cents
3 years ago

Does anyone know if EMU football is actually contributing to the other sports? With total attendance last season of around 74,000 in 5 games, it seems unlikely that they cover their budget, never mind pay for the other sports. Plus, $24MM of their total $30MM athletic budget comes from student fees, most of that going to football. So, again, it seems like at Buffalo, football is a giant money pit at EMU. If anyone has any information about this, I’d like to know for sure.

35 lb.
Reply to  SwimCoachDad
3 years ago

EMU football does not directly contribute financially to other EMU sports. Listen to AD Wetherbees press conference and he says the football program cost 6.9 mil/yr and had total revenues short of that number. He said the net cost to EMU was close to the expenditure on softball. He does make a somewhat valid point about full tuition paying students who may have chosen EMU because of the football program – 30 walk on players, cheerleaders, marching band, etc. No way to quantify the number of students or dollars. Nor is there a good way of assigning costs from the bloated athletic department directly to one sport. Bottom line is that on an operational basis EMU football is a breakeven… Read more »

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Paul Allen
3 years ago

and i could add , football is way more dangerous – i have seen countless documentaries on that issue .

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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