Former N. Dakota Coach Speaks Out On Program Cut

SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please [email protected]

This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Mavi Sampaio:

Most of the aquatic community already know what unfortunately happened this week to one of the most successful college Swimming program in the nation in the last 3 decades: the Men and Women Swimming and Diving programs from the University of North Dakota has been discontinued (cut!!!). Sad times for the swimming community.
This is what really happened. The Athletic Department has been “out of control” with its finances for many years now, with some teams spending more than they are budgeted to, and affecting negatively the overall budget of the Athletic Department, without being able (???) to stop this “bleeding”.

Here is something that I fight against since I was at UND: revenue vs non-revenue sports. This notion is a little misleading to say the list. Take a sport like swimming at UND, for example. They have roughly 10 Student Athletes on scholarship, and 50+ with NO scholarship, paying like a regular student just to be on the team. 50!!!!! If you multiply that to the tuition, room and board, fees, etc., you

Courtesy of Maviel Sampaio

will come up with a number around ($15,000 x 50) $750,000. I am pretty sure that this number is more than double of the overall team’s budget, and that including scholarships, salaries, and all the other expenses. That’s the number that the University will be missing next season due to cutting the programs. And this number is assuming that all swimmers and divers pay “in state” tuition (which is not what happens). So is Swimming and Diving a revenue sport? I think so.

In November, a big “Circus” was set for a number of sports that were on the “chop” side of the sports. After a lot of work from Coaches and Alums, and the obvious sad feeling that took over these teams (including Swimming and Diving), the school leadership (Athletic Director and the President) that no program was in jeopardy, and that they will all be maintained (which was obviously a LIE). This led the teams to not put an extra effort in fundraising, and try to help financially (even more than what we already do) the Athletic Department. This step was the LOWEST I have ever seen a leader do. They straight LIED to Student Athletes, Coaches, Alums, Alums families, and community. That is so LOW that disgusts me, and disqualifies those individuals do be in ANY leadership position. Who will trust their words from now on????
But this comes from a couple people that do not have any history attachment to UND. People that look at numbers, and not at people. And that’s not what the program is all about. Can you imagine coming to NORTH DAKOTA to swim???? The coldest state in the union, where temperatures some days range way below zero!!! But that’s the kind of people who comes here: tough, fighters, and hardworking young adults, who created one of the best, and few, college swimming programs in the north central part of the country. Swimmers and Divers that are not worried about the weather, but with the quality of the education and the quality of the programs, where they can develop their abilities, be successful, and learn lessons for the rest of their lives. That’s who we are: FIGHTERS!!!

These 2 individuals probably do not know that Bismarck opened a state of the art 50 meter pool a couple years ago, and that West Fargo bought the 2016 Olympic Trials 50 meters pool, and is scheduled to open their pool (indoor) this coming fall. And with this, the sport of Swimming and

Courtesy of Maviel Sampaio

Diving should blossom in the state, but with the “short sighted” vision of these UND leaders, the swimmers will not have a strong team to go to, and their parents will have to pay “out-of-state” tuition if their kids want to continue swimming throughout college. And that’s sad, very sad…. People in the rest of the state spent (are spending) more that $40 million building facilities to better serve the PEOPLE of our state, and the State Institution that carries the name of the state is cutting the program that could benefit the most from those dollars. VERY SHORT SIGHTED vision, and not connected at all with the rest of the state.
A group of former coaches (now including Coach Chris Maielo and his staff, who did a spectacular job with the teams since they came), alums, and friends of the program are trying to find solutions to revert this NON-SENSE decision. Hopefully our legislators will see the HUGE mistake that was made, and will demand a reinstatement of both programs.

Thanks for your support, and let’s keep FIGHTING!!!!!


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Coach MM

Coach Maviel is so right!! Well said.
A college swim team is cheap. Most teams already have pools and regardless of cutting the team, they will still have to maintain the pool. Most kids are not on scholarships and are paying sticker out-of-state prices. Having one Head Coach leading both teams is a minimal salary cost for the University. It is time for the swimming community to get together (USA Swimming included!) and fight those ADs! In reality, what those ADs want is less work for themselves.

dude 2.0

If you are an administrator, and your oversight is so grievous that you have to cut successful programs at your school, then you need to eat it and step down. Your job is to preserve and protect these athletes and their collegiate experiences in the betterment of your school. Not to save your own hide and absurd salaries! Good on Coach Maviel for speaking up.


You are correct that raising money will help keep the conversation on who to cut… does help. However the “Texas” example and any of the power five conferences as an example, in comparison of what is going on at North Dakota is an apples and oranges argument. Schools that use athletic teams for recruitment and retention and net Tuition dollars as a major factor in the entire school budget is what I believe the coach is stating. Texas athletics (other than student fees) is running on their own department dime. This is why most if not all of the DI schools are losing money. IMHO this is why the vast majority of DI programs should be DII or DIII. Attempting… Read more »

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