A report from Fansided’s DearOldGold.com says that the University of Iowa will cut men’s and women’s swimming & diving, along with two other sports in a press conference later today.
Update: the school has confirmed the news in a press release.
Iowa will hold a press conference at 12:30 today, DearOldGold reports on Twitter. DearOldGold is an Iowa Hawkeyes-focused website that is part of Fansided’s multi-site sports network. The tweet says that Iowa will cut four programs (swimming & diving, men’s gymnastics, men’s tennis) at the end of this school year, news that another source has confirmed to SwimSwam.
#Iowa will drop Men’s and Women’s Swimming, Men’s Gymnastics and Men’s Tennis at the end of the school year, per source. Salaries and scholarships will be honored through graduation. Press conference at 12:30 today.
— Dear Old Gold (@DearOldGold) August 21, 2020
Iowa competes in the Big Ten, which announced this month it would be postponing the fall football season. Iowa was already facing about $15 million in athletics budget reductions due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, and that was before the cancelation of football.
The Hawkeyes finished 9th among 13 women’s programs and 6th among 10 men’s programs at the 2020 Big Ten Championships. They had qualified two women and two men for the NCAA Championships, which were canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An Iowa cut would be by far the biggest program cut in an offseason that has already been brutal for college swimming at the Division I level. Five schools in Division I have already cut swimming & diving programs this offseason:
- Boise State (women)
- UConn (men)
- Dartmouth (women & men)
- East Carolina (women & men)
- Western Illionis (women & men) – indefinitely suspended
Iowa would be the first Power-5 school to cut swimming & diving programs in both genders since Clemson eliminated their men’s swimming & diving and women’s swimming programs in 2012. More recently, Clemson cut women’s diving in 2017, and Oregon State cut its women’s swimming & diving program last year.
An Iowa cut would also be surprising because the school has one of the nation’s better (and newer) facilities. The $69 million Campus Recreation and Wellness Center opened just ten years ago in 2010. (The school put $5-6 million into pool repairs just last summer).
That pool has already hosted multiple Big Ten Championships along with the 2015 Men’s NCAA Championships. Iowa is also the host of the 2021 Men’s NCAA Championships – if the reports are correct, that would be the potential last meet for Iowa’s program before it’s eliminated.
Update: Iowa president Bruce Harreld and athletic director Gary Barta released the following statement:
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a financial exigency which threatens our continued ability to adequately support 24 intercollegiate athletics programs at the desired championship level. With the Big Ten Conference’s postponement of fall competition on August 11, UI Athletics now projects lost revenue of approximately $100M and an overall deficit between $60-75M this fiscal year. A loss of this magnitude will take years to overcome. We have a plan to recover, but the journey will be challenging.