Iowa Swimming & Diving Launches Pledge Campaign To Save Program

A pledge campaign has been launched in an effort to save the University of Iowa’s men’s and women’s swimming teams after it was announced that they would be cut at the end of the 2020-21 season.

The pledge, which can be found here, also offers an option to donate to the men’s gymnastics and men’s tennis programs, which are also being cut.

The initiative was organized by a group of over 500 alumni and friends of the Hawkeye swimming & diving program. If the program was to get reinstated, the donors who have pledged will help support the teams.

“Iowa swimming to me is more than a sport, it’s my family and it’s the most culturally rich sport at all of Iowa,” Ryan Purdy, a Hawkeye sophomore and captain of the men’s team, told SwimSwam. “We created the butterfly, we have one of the nicest pools in the country that will sit empty of top tier athletes. They’re ending a team who shined at the B1G championships this year, jumping to 6th place in just one year.

“They’re ending the dreams of the kids that grow up around the country that want to swim at Iowa. This team also showed me what it was like to have coaches and teammates who sacrifice everything for one another and that’s the biggest thing I’ll cherish from my experience here. My journey here isn’t done as I fight to save this program and I’ll stop at nothing to do that. I came here to live out my dream of being a Hawkeye and I want to do everything I can to fulfill that dream.”

There has also “been talk” that a donor offered a multi-million dollar check and the school still wasn’t interested in reversing its decision on cutting the program, though that is unconfirmed.

It was also announced on September 16 that the Big Ten would be resuming football on October 24. One of the main reasons for cutting swimming & diving, tennis and gymnastics was due to lost revenue from having no football this season.

“They are still saying that there’s a large financial deficit and they aren’t willing to have any talks about reinstatement,” said Purdy.

In a press conference on August 24, Iowa’s Athletic Director Gary Barta said that cutting the four programs was “one hundred percent determined and driven by COVID-19”.

“The financial fallout (from) COVID-19 led to the postponement, cancellation of fall football,” Barta continued. “Were it not for that we would not have been dropping those four sports.”

Purdy also said that the team has a sworn affidavit from the Board of Regents that states that they met with the president of the university on July 31st and August 4th to discuss the cutting of four unmanned sorts.

“Their timeline doesn’t add up as football wasn’t canceled at the time because on August 5th the B1G released their 10 game schedule,” he said. “As you can see there are clearly many flaws in their decision and blatant inconsistencies in their public comments.”

As of Tuesday, the pledge campaign had raised $1.7 million.

You can find the pledge here and the attached letter here.

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2 years ago

Valiant effort but unfortunately it will go nowhere. Barta won’t let these sports be reinstated- no matter how much is raised. The only way to get these sports back is to get him fired.

Time For Barta To Go
2 years ago

The University of Iowa and AD Barta have made their final decision – they don’t want Swimming & Diving around, just like the other sports that were cut. Completely shameful. While everyone admires this effort and hopes it’s successful, Barta and the university have been crystal clear all along. “No amount of fundraising, including fully-funded endowments, will change this decision.” No room to maneuver here. No amount of money. Iowa wants the cut sports and their athletes/staff out of sight and out of mind. Get out, you “unworthy”, says Barta and Iowa. In today’s vernacular, they have been “Cancelled”.

The only way Swimming & Diving gets saved, along with the other cuts sports, is the old heave-ho for Barta. Broom… Read more »

Reply to  Time For Barta To Go
2 years ago

Actually, there might be a chance, but it would take big football boosters to care about the remaining sports. Money talks, if other big donors cared and held the money over their head, they’d find a way.

Reply to  Erik
2 years ago

True I think. If the big donors say the money will dry up unless the cut sports are reinstated…
But, do the big donors care about the Olympic sports?

2 years ago

So why wouldn’t the University administration try to raise funds to save these programs themselves before deciding to cancel them?

Reply to  wolfensf
2 years ago

Because they’re lying about their reasons

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  wolfensf
2 years ago

Because Barta and the University want those athletes, coaches and staff the heck out of there. Don’t care, don’t want to hear it, don’t give a darn (real word omitted). “No amount of fundraising, including fully-funding endowments, will reverse this decision.” Translation: be gone, less worthy sports and people. Shameful.

2 years ago

Where can we see the current total pledged?

2 years ago

NEXT to football / swimming 7s The heart of Iowa

2 years ago

I gave my First swim clinic in Ames Iowa.
I will support men’s & women’s swim by giving back.

2 years ago

Hmmm sounds like the Board of Regents pants are on fire.

2 years ago

Barta is a liar, always has been. And, he is also Kirk Ferentz’ (football coach) errand boy. Don’t believe anything he says. His boss, President Harreld is even bigger liar.

Reply to  PsychoDad
2 years ago

Iowa’s President Harreld (an exceptionally stupid and clueless person) today in front of the Board of Regents, as reported by The Daily Iowan:

Harreld added: “What they are asking us to do is reinstate the sports so they can run a campaign to raise the money. I’m sorry, I’ve been there so many times on other facilities and other activities on campus — that if you do this, raise the money — then we’ll end up with 10 percent of what we need.
“And now we’re on the hook to fund the rest of it. We don’t have that sort of money anymore. These sports are closed. But if we can raise an appropriate amount of money, which is… Read more »

DP Spellman
Reply to  PsychoDad
2 years ago

Actually, to be fair, UI President Bruce Harreld is just not qualified for his position / doesn’t really know what he is doing / not in Iowa City a whole lot of the time.

*You pegged Mr. Barta correctly.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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