The University of Connecticut will be cutting men’s swimming tomorrow, according to a tweet from Sports Illustrated reporter Pat Forde.
Other sports at the Division I school are also expected to be on the chopping block, as athletic director David Benedict will be presenting the department’s budget proposal tomorrow, June 24.
“News: I’m told UConn is cutting men’s swimming,” reads Forde’s tweet. “Other sports likely. School set to announce cuts tomorrow.”
Other sources have told SwimSwam that the student-athletes were told that they will be able to continue training at the school for the next year under scholarship, but with no promise of any meets, due to the late timing of the announcement.
Last week, SwimSwam’s Torrey Hart wrote about the possibility of program cuts and the long-term fate of UConn athletics. The school’s athletic department reportedly must slash $10 million from its budget over the next three years. SwimSwam’s Braden Keith also wrote about the potential athletics cuts in May after the school said it would have to slim down financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting revenue.
UConn shuttering the men’s swimming & diving program mirrors the closure of East Carolina’s men’s and women’s teams in May to meet a shrinking budget. Both schools are part of the American Athletic Conference; last year, the ECU men won the AAC crown while the women finished fourth of six teams; UConn’s men were fourth of four men’s teams, and their women were sixth of six women’s programs. UConn is scheduled to join the Big East next year, which leaves the AAC with just 2 men’s teams regardless.
A member of the UConn swim team told SwimSwam last week that the program also has $500,000 in pledges from an undisclosed number of alumni — there is also a GoFundMe set up called “Protect the Program – UConn Swimming & Diving” with just over $2,200 donated.
An article in the Hartford Courant on Tuesday touted the fundraising efforts of tennis, track & field, and golf programs in an effort to save their programs, but omitted any mention of swimming. The track & field program raised $1.6 million in pledges, men’s golf has around $270,000 for next year and nearly $900,000 across the next 5 years, and the tennis program has raised up to $300,000.
The timing of the cut, already near the end of June, leaves athletes in a challenging position, as the possibility of transferring, especially transferring and receiving any scholarships, will be a tough sell at this late stage of the recruiting cycle for the fall of 2020.
News: I'm told UConn is cutting men's swimming. Other sports likely. School set to announce cuts tomorrow.
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) June 23, 2020