Division II Wheeling Jesuit University has quietly removed swimming & diving from its athletics website, following an e-mail to alumni several months ago announcing the program would be cut.
As of Wednesday night, swimming & diving no longer appeared in the list of school sports on the Wheeling Jesuit athletics website. The school hasn’t publicly announced the cut, but did respond to a SwimSwam request for comment to confirm that the sport is being discontinued. A school representative said the university will release an official statement, but as of Thursday morning, we haven’t yet received it – we’ll update the story when official word comes through. Several alumni say they received an e-mail notifying them of the cuts as well.
UPDATE: The school has released its statement on Monday. We’ve included that statement at the bottom.
The school recently hired a new athletics director, Rudy Yovich, but he doesn’t officially start in the position until September 5. (The press release announcing Yovich’s hire on August 7th says he’ll be overseeing 20 men’s and women’s sports, which wouldn’t include swimming & diving, and the school confirmed that the decision was made before Yovich’s hiring). The current interim director of athletics is Ricky Moore.
Wheeling Jesuit joins a growing list of schools that have cut a swimming and/or diving program this year. Already that group includes Division I’s Buffalo (men’s swimming & diving), North Dakota (men’s and women’s swimming & diving) and Clemson (women’s diving) among others.
Wheeling Jesuit hired a new head coach just last fall. Former head coach Mike Meyers stepped down in November of 2015. He was replaced on an interim basis by his assistant Luis Ambrosio, and in October of 2016, the team hired local club coach Jeani Humpe to take over the men’s and women’s programs.
She had less than one year with the program before it was cut from the athletic department. Wheeling Jesuit now has 10 men’s programs and 8 women’s programs, including men’s football, which was just added to the department, and will begin with an exhibition schedule in 2018-2019 and a full schedule starting in the fall of 2019. A school representative said that the cutting of swimming & diving has no connection to the addition of football to the school’s roster of sports.
Here’s the full Wheeling Jesuit statement:
The University goes through a regular process of reviewing and revising programs. In the course of this review, programs are added, altered, and eliminated. Declining enrollments in swimming meant that the program was not as successful as it once was, and we couldn’t offer a positive student experience. Half of the team are rising seniors. The team was given the option of swimming for one more year and declined.