A pathway has been put in place to reinstate the La Salle University men’s swimming & diving team, which was among seven programs the school cut in late September.
In a press release sent out on Monday, the team announced that after discussions with school president Colleen Hanycz, Athletic Director Brian Baptiste and Board of Trustees Chair Bill Matthews, there is a definitive pathway to reinstatement, hinging on achieving both short and long-term fundraising milestones.
“The path forward will sustain the tradition, excellence, development, and character that La Salle swimming and diving has provided to hundreds of La Salle men’s alumni,” the release says.
Baptiste credits the swimming & diving community for stepping forward and seeking ways to help since the program was cut four months ago.
“The La Salle swimming & diving community has shown great passion, pride, and a commitment to the men’s program,” he said. “The willingness of the group to lead this effort shows a drive and determination to preserve the program. It may serve as an example for similar groups across the country, of the engagement needed to ensure sustainable, championship experiences for the sport of swimming.”
This announcement follows “weeks of active engagement” between alumni, former head coach Jamie Platt and the school’s administration. CSCAA Executive Director Greg Earhart says this was extremely important in the process.
“All too often we see decision-makers make a decision and then close their ears to a community that is ready, eager, and able to support these teams,” Earhart said. “The La Salle alumni have been and will continue to be instrumental, but I also have to give a lot of credit to Brian (Baptiste).”
The first fundraising objective is to hit $300,000 in order to sustain the team’s operating expenses through 2024. “This will provide the athletic department immediate fiscal relief while also providing alumni the time to fund a $2.3 million endowment,” the release says. “This would fully endow the team’s operating costs in perpetuity.”
According to the release, organizers have already secured close to $500,000 in pledges in just six weeks, and with the support of the administration, feel as though they can accelerate the timeline and hope to secure the total by April 21, 2021.
Brian Quinn, La Salle’s Senior Director of Development for Athletics, feel as though its an achievable goal.
“Many of our graduates go onto successful careers, but what has really struck me during this process is how many attribute their success to their swimming and diving experience, and how eager they are to ensure these experiences continue.”
Platt, who is now the Executive Director of Middle Atlantic Swimming, added that “few programs get a second chance at life like this,” and “fewer still get the opportunity to control their destiny so it is important for us to deliver on this commitment.”
La Salle continues to sponsor a women’s swim & dive team.