Former Western Illinois Swimmer Accuses Athletics Department of Mistreatment

A former Western Illinois swimmer has spoken out about the recent program cut, accusing the school’s athletic department of treating the swim team members unfairly. 

On June 25, the school suspended its swimming and diving program, citing budget and COVID-19-related issues. In a statement, the school said, “The decision to suspend was due to challenges related to COVID-19, which impacted the search for a head coach, recruitment, and the department’s budget.”

The decision also came amidst a head coach search after the school terminated Greg Naumann in September and his replacement Scott Johannsen left the program in February. Swimmers on the team were not notified of Johannsen’s departure until less than a month before their championship meet.

Shortly after the school announced the team’s suspension, former WIU swimmer Jacelyn Hanson, who competed for WIU for just over a semester before transferring to Minnesota State University, Mankato accused the athletic department of repeatedly overlooking the swim program, while also claiming that the suspension of the program was not due to COVID-19 or budget issues.

Hanson posted her views on Twitter, saying “It was evident how the team was treated by the university…this is unfair and not solely a problem at WIU, but the mistreatment was excessive.”

“My old teammates and friends who I consider family deserve so much better than this athletic department led by Danielle Surpreant. They were lied to for months and fed false information about upcoming seasons and new coaching staff.”

Some of Hanson’s claims of mistreatment include not getting access to dining facilities that other student athletes could utilize, not having access to an adequate weight room, and not having enough funding to pay for the team’s gear, amongst other things.

Western Illinois University has not released any further comments on the situation.

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Bossanova
1 year ago

I was fortunate enough to get two team t-shirts a year. Paid for my parka myself.

Mateo Romero
1 year ago
fly mom
Reply to  Mateo Romero
1 year ago

Do not disregard what they are saying. This does do on more than we know. And is wrong.

SwimMom
Reply to  Mateo Romero
1 year ago

What does this have to with this swimmer’s experience? I honestly think I am missing something.

Jacelyn Hanson
Reply to  Mateo Romero
1 year ago

I would never disrespect swimming as a sport. It has given me everything I have today and I genuinely owe my life to it. However my complaints were about the unfair treatment given to swimmers in comparison to other athletes.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Jacelyn Hanson
1 year ago

Fair.

Ladyvoldisser
Reply to  Jacelyn Hanson
1 year ago

Cry me a river

Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Go spend a tour in Afghanistan or Somalia…then complain.

Coach #2
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

She signed up for a very typical NCAA student-athlete experience. If she wanted military she would have signed up for it – no one can possibly argue with your point of a military tour being tough…posted on a swimming website nonetheless. However, what’s common at many NCAA swimming and diving programs is a tier 3 experience…no where close to a tier 2 or tier 1 NCAA sport experience with funding, size of staff, equipment, other resources etc. This is not a unique problem at WIU.

Landrew
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

So only soldiers who tour overseas have a right to complain? That’s a dumb angle

Swimws
Reply to  Landrew
1 year ago

No your comparison of the military and swimming in college is a dumb angle.

John
Reply to  Swimws
1 year ago

LANDREW and LADYVOLDISSER are the same account?

Snarky
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Ladyvoldisser. Go back. You obviously didn’t learn much and brought back a whole lot of entitlement.

Jacelyn Hanson
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

Nah both my parents did that (my father was deployed my entire time in middle school). I’m good thanks for your concern.

Marie
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

This is a college where the student pays money to attend it, not a job where you get paid money or other benefits in exchange for work. At the end of the day, the student pays to be there and has the right to complain about sub-standard service.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
1 year ago

(Narrator: as LADYVOLDISSER plays keyboard warrior.)

dmswim
1 year ago

I went to a Power 5 conference school in the late-2000s, and we got a t-shirt, suit, cap, and shorts each season. We paid for our own team sweats and were given warm-ups and a bag that could only be used at meets and had to be returned at the end of the season. We had to provide our own kickboards, fins, goggles, paddles, etc. Football had a special dining hall and better dorms than other athletes. We used the same weight room but could be kicked out at any time if football wanted to use it.
While it wasn’t “fair,” I didn’t choose the team or school for gear or dining hall privileges. Those were fringe benefits that… Read more »

oldswimguy
Reply to  dmswim
1 year ago

The moment you have differential treatment of athletes is when the moral compass of the schools went missing. On a few select campuses, the football programs make money. The rest of the football programs are dependent, as are swim teams, on the athletic departments largess. Fairness should always be considered. With Covid hitting the football season we shall see, as Warren Buffett said, (When the tide goes out), who is naked? The malfeasance in athletic departments have gone on for a long time. It’s what lead to the Baylor fiasco for example. It’s what leads to the schools looking the other way when criminal behavior of football/basketball players is out of control. UF during the Urban Meyer years as an… Read more »

moddiddle
Reply to  oldswimguy
1 year ago

Reading this sounds like the last company I worked at: manager’s playing favorites (giving certain people better opportunities, more pay, protection from layoffs), lying to my face about promotions, no exit interview and using Covid-19 as an excuse to get rid of non-superstars, possibly forever ending their employment forever.

Is this illegal and can they be held accountable? No.
Does it make it right? No.

Recent WIU Swammer
Reply to  moddiddle
1 year ago

There are other stories, that she chose not to mention because she wasn’t a part of them, that do border the the illegal side of the scale. And when they brought it up to the AD, the AD dismissed most of the team.

Garrett Kemp
Reply to  dmswim
1 year ago

I’m a current student there. She doesn’t currently go there and only went a semester 3/4 years ago so this is what she chose to write about. The bigger issues were the sexual harassment and continual abuse by both the coach and the admin staff for sweeping it under the rug time and time again. There will be more written in that soon as many of us current are just coming to terms with it all and will send in stuff.

NotKnown422
1 year ago

SwimSwam….If you would talk to some recent swimmers you could get the whole story about how the team was treated last season. Most disturbingly that a coach was hired that had been fired from another university and disciplined by USA Swimming at least twice. The university was made aware of this within hours of the announcement, but it took the school several months to fire him for unacceptable behaviors towards the athletes. And now the athletes are taking the punishment by their team being “suspended”.

dmswim
Reply to  NotKnown422
1 year ago

Now these are legitimate concerns. This is what should be investigated, not the fact that swimmers weren’t given dorm rooms near each other.

Jacelyn Hanson
Reply to  dmswim
1 year ago

That is true however I was unable to speak of that. I can only stand for what I personally experienced. I would encourage you to continue to inquire about the most recent years. My friends are more able to speak about that time as I only heard stories and did not live the last year at WIU.

Coach
1 year ago

I think I’m missing something. They received team gear, competition gear, I know for a fact they received tech Suits per talking with the coaching staff in the past. The only thing I see was there was no exit interview prior to leaving the school after a semester. I’ve seen the swimming weight room areas, not as bad as she’s describing.

Anonymous
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

I also know for a fact these kids were not given tech suits. They were given a team suit, 2 t-shirts, a cap, and a warm up that was returned at the end of the season. So yes they received team gear but they had to purchase their own tech suits. I know this because my child swam the last four years at WIU.

Anonymous
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

Not sure where you are getting your information. My child is part of the program and they do NOT receive tech suits and recieved minimal swag. Weight room is horrible at Brophy. Coaching this year was unacceptable and coach hired had USA coaching card pulled. Make sure you have your facts!

Jacelyn Hanson
Reply to  Coach
1 year ago

In comparison to the weight rooms used by other athletes at WIU. yes. They were bad. Also no I was not provided a tech suit at a division 1 school however when I transferred to a d2 I was. That’s not a great representation of WIU it is deceiving to prospective athletes. Speaking of my other school.. we were given equal access to the training room, certified trainers(not just students), and given the same perks as all other athletes at the school none of which happened at WIU.

Dana Kaftan
1 year ago

As a former swimmer at Western Illinois University from 2016-2020, I can say that all of her accusations are completely accurate and justified. The athletics department is so wildly incompetent it’s laughable.

SWIMFAN5
1 year ago

I believe things were not great at WIU for some time and I think that is pretty clear; however, the complaints referred to in this article are not that uncommon. This is all stuff that you are able to see before committing to a team and things that recruits should be asking about. There are obviously issues that come up after joining that were not visible when the coaches/team put their best foot forward during recruiting, but facilities, free stuff, rooming situations, meal plans/areas, etc are all things that can be asked and answered ahead of time. All of the stuff mentioned you will see in other programs, but what really makes the difference is how the athletic department, coach,… Read more »

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where she is an active …

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