At a rally to attempt to reverse the decision by Eastern Michigan University to cut its Men’s Swimming and Diving, Wrestling, Softball, and Women’s Tennis teams, University of Michigan head swim coach Mike Bottom announced that he personally will be donating $10,000 to support the programs that are being cut. Bottom had strong words for EMU, stating that “There’s other ways to do this besides stealing dreams”, referring to solving EMU’s budget problems.
The rally was held Monday night in front of the EMU Convocation Center, and was attended by over 100 people, including student athletes, students, faculty, alumni, and the University of Michigan Swimming and Diving teams. Ralliers took turns speaking about what the cuts mean to them, voicing frustration with the decision to cut the programs, and insisting that their fight is not over yet. The rally came on the heels of a statement released by EMU on Monday stating that the decision to cut the teams was “final”.
That statement by EMU came roughly a week after EMU Accounting professor, Howard Bunsis, released a report claiming that the university vastly overestimated how much money will be saved by eliminating the programs, claiming that the EMU will actually face a net loss through these cuts. Bunsis claims that EMU leadership failed to take into account things like tuition lost from students transferring somwehere else to continue their sports and scholarship money from the NCAA, while EMU claims that Bunsis failed to take into account future facility and equipment costs, and is overestimating how many students will leave the university. Although the university is still strongly defending its claim that the cuts will save EMU $2.4 million annually, they have made a few concessions, including admitting that they overestimated the cost of the Wrestling program by nearly $300,000, and that the annual savings of $2.4 million “will not immediately be realized”.
There is another rally set to take place on Friday at 9a.m., an hour before the Board of Regents are set to meet and could either approve the plans to eliminate the programs, or scrap the plans in search of alternative solutions.