UConn to Eliminate Men’s Swim & Dive, 3 Other Sports Following 2020-21 Year

After weeks of speculation, the University of Connecticut is officially cutting its men’s swimming and diving program along with men’s tennis and cross country, as well as women’s rowing, after the 2020-21 school year, the Hartford Courant’s Alexa Phillippou reported Wednesday during a Board of Trustees meeting. The school will also reduce the number of scholarships offered for men’s golf and track & field.

According to Phillippou, the school will honor scholarships for athletes who choose to remain at UConn and pursue a four-year degree.

UConn track and field representatives called into the meeting and one urged the board to consider the non-financial ramifications of theit program. “You could be saving someone’s life if this program is not cut,” one alum reportedly said.

The school’s athletic department reportedly must slash $10 million from its budget over the next three years due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the university will be lowering its contribution to athletics from $40 million $30 million. According to a report by the Hartford Courant, in recent years, athletics has been taking in about $40 million and spending more than $80 million annually.

On May 23, athletic director David Benedict said that eliminating sports would be a major consideration, as UConn fields 24 varsity sports, which is eight more than the minimum for Division I status. UConn will join the Big East Conference on July 1 (and had to pay $17 million to exit the AAC), and its current sport count is six more than the average per school across the conference.

UConn’s situation is similar to that of East Carolina University, which announced the cut of four programs – including swimming & diving – last month as part of an effort to close a $10 million-per-year budget deficit. ECU previously sponsored 20 sports, which made it the second-biggest program in the AAC behind UConn’s 24.

The UConn men finished fourth out of four teams at the 2020 AAC Swimming & Diving Conference Championships, while the UConn women’s team finished sixth out of six teams. The defending men’s conference champions from ECU having now been cut, which coupled with UConn’s departure, leaves just Cincinnati and SMU sponsoring men’s swimming programs in the American.

According to data collected by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, 43 Division I sports programs have now been cut amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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2 years ago

Catch up on the news pal.

The wet bandit
2 years ago

Just saying. Cancelling football would be the fastest, best, most efficient way to save the school. Cough cough. Give up football or Dave. Or both.

Reply to  The wet bandit
2 years ago

Part of the problem is buying out unbelievably stupid contracts for terrible football head coaches and their staffs. It is the only sport I know in college athletics where you can go 10-18, make $4.8MM for doing a terrible job and then get paid $750k to leave. UCONN joins Rutgers and Maryland as D1 schools who went broke partly on buying out terrible hires for revenue sports. Dropping to FCS would have saved them a bunch of money.

Creed Ko
Reply to  SwimCoachDad
2 years ago

Kind of makes you want to get hired as a Head Football Coach, intentionally suck, then take the buyout and never work the rest of your life.

NCAA football fan
Reply to  Creed Ko
2 years ago

Look up Charlie Weis. Was being paid millions by Notre Dame AND Kansas for doing an absolutely horrid job at both programs.

Reply to  SwimCoachDad
2 years ago

Yup, they’re sacrificing 125+ student athletes – many of whom were paying full tuition – to keep the joke of a football team going. Bringing back Edsall (& Son) was just one of many epic missteps with football over the last 2 decades. UConn is not and will never be a football school.

Captain Ahab
2 years ago

I wonder how Geno Auriemma would be as a college swimming coach?

Reply to  Captain Ahab
2 years ago

Well, given the fact that UCONN Women’s basketball is one of the top teams in the country every year, and they lost $3MM in 2019-2020, along with their men’s basketball team losing $5MM and football adding another $8.7MM loss to the ledger, I don’t think we need that kind of help in swimming.

2 years ago

Didn’t Rhodenbaugh just move back to SMU last year?

Reply to  SwimFan49
2 years ago


2 years ago

First of all, UCONN in general has been one giant financial dumpster fire for a while. A year ago, before the huge losses from the COVID-19 shutdowns, they projected a loss of $19.7MM largely due to unfunded pension costs. A couple of years ago it was more than $30MM. This recent action is a PR stunt that won’t amount to anything financially. It is an attempt to make some tiny, insignificant dent in the even bigger loss they are likely to have. But, it won’t make any difference and it is EXACTLY the same as U at Buffalo did in 2017 with no positive results. Cut a heavily-funded and expensive women’s rowing program and then cut three under-funded men’s programs… Read more »

2 years ago

Wrote this in the last UCONN article just looking for some more details or if it is also title IX related..

In this upcoming year when travel will most likely have to be limited, and the possibility of min. meets, as well as not sure if or when winter sports can start (maybe Jan. 1st as some colleges have already announced), plus if im not mistaken the program, men’s and women’s run together? Same head coach and staff? What is the cost saving really look like to just cut the mens program? If this is the case wouldn’t it make more sense to just have a mens swim team but not offer athletic scholarships? Carry 20 full tuition athletes for… Read more »

Creed Ko
2 years ago

Wow, imagine the outcome if the Big 10 would have chosen UCONN instead of Rutgers

2 years ago

Obviously it is easy to blast the school for the gamble they made moving the FB program up to 1A in 2004 given how badly it has backfired, but the really interesting thing is how close it came to paying off.

If UConn had gotten the ACC bid to replace Maryland in 2014 (and they were such prohibitive favorites one ACC administrator said they “weren’t just penciled, they were penned in”) we would all be talking about how genius they were to go from FCS to ACC in a decade. Instead, the UConn athletic department admins look like a bunch of schmucks.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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