William & Mary Permanently Reinstates Men’s Swimming, Other Teams Initially Cut

Men’s swimming, along with the three other men’s athletics programs that were cut last September by the College of William & Mary, have been permanently reinstated, school President Katherine A. Rowe announced Wednesday.

Seven teams were initially cut in September, including both swimming programs, and then the three women’s sports that had been eliminated — swimming, gymnastics and volleyball — were reinstated in October after the university faced a potential Title IX lawsuit.

The men’s teams, which, along with swimming, included indoor and outdoor track & field and gymnastics, were then temporarily reinstated in November, “through at least 2021-22,” as the school continued its financial overview.

Now, with the William & Mary community “exceeding short-term fundraising goals,” Rowe says there is no longer a “potential end date” for these teams.

“In November, the university conveyed the expectation that men’s gymnastics, men’s swimming and men’s track & field would continue at least through 2021-22,” Rowe said.

“We are pleased to announce that these programs will continue to compete, without a stated potential end date, as do all other athletics programs at William & Mary. To be successful, every sport at William & Mary will require sustained higher levels of philanthropic support going forward. ”

The school’s press release also says that the school has “embarked on a rigorous review” of the Athletic Department’s finances since last fall, and that they’re currently developing future plans that are equitable and sustainable.

In his regular communication to the William & Mary athletics community, Interim Athletics Director Jeremy Martin said: “This fall, the William & Mary community reiterated the desire for a broad athletics program. Thus far in FY2020, we’ve seen the financial commitment reflect that desire.

“However, the magnitude of the financial challenge is not diminished by success in a single year – it must be repeated and increased each and every year.”

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Time For Barta To Go
1 year ago

Great news. Finally rectified the last of the “Huge Mistakes” (pun intended). Best wishes to these student-athletes and their coaches.

1 year ago

Good for W&M

Have a kid who was going there before the program was canned.

Kudos to Nate for his immediate reach out to my kid, before it hit the press. Best of luck to the coaches and swimmers there.

The inside story of how the AD broke the news to the kids was not good. 7 mins, no Q&A, no parent reach out. I’m still scratching my head for how either the AD was empowered to make the call then thrown under the bus, or unilaterally made the call. Neither make sense.

Reply to  Exswimmerish
1 year ago

My take is that the AD made a presentation to the President and the board using wildly exaggerated costs, and they bought in. After the explosion of objection the data presented was proven to be false. Or at best exaggerated.

What I mean by this is that the swim program’s annual operating costs were in the few hundred thousands. Let’s say $400,000. I don’t remember the exact number. At the time there were no men’s scholarships and one very small partial women’s scholarship.

The AD made both a cost and competitive excellence argument. Specifically, the argument was made that in order to be competitive at the highest level, the school would have to fully fund scholarships at the 14/10… Read more »

Reply to  Barbotus
1 year ago

It should be acknowledged that, at least from where SwimSwam sits, that this has been by far the best and most-organized alumni group in fighting to save their program. We had one specific point person that we spoke to, that point person was responsive and honest, and could get us in touch with whoever or whatever we needed. They did so quickly as well. And it was all alumni-driven, as compared to parent-driven.

That group also had, in my opinion, the easiest case to make. They didn’t have to reach quite as far to make their argument as other groups have had to. Combined with Samantha Huge making a few really big blunders, and William & Mary might be the… Read more »

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

It also cannot be expressed enough our THANKS to Braden Keith and Swimswam for their continued support and coverage of the W&M story. You played a significant role with reinstatement, whether you realize it or not, and the TRIBE family is forever grateful!

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for all you do for our Sport!


1 year ago

After Dartmouth and now William & Mary, things look a little less dark. Now it’s your turn, Michigan State and Iowa.

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  NUSwimFan
1 year ago

See the nickname.

Paul Windrath
1 year ago

I agree this is good news for W & M as well as all the other sports there and other places this year.

At the same time, does anyone else see the hypocrisy when there is outrage when parents “buy” admission for a son or daughter but no outrage when wealthy alums buy the re-instatement of a sport? It is not a good future for the second and third tier non-revenue generating sports.

Reply to  Paul Windrath
1 year ago

I’m not sure I really understand the relationship between the two instances that you’ve presented, or how that leads to your final sentence conclusion. Can you elaborate on why you think people should be outraged about wealthy alumni donating to save sports programs?

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Believe they’re referring to the LA D list celebs who lied about their kids being in sports and got caught.

Not quite the same, but there’s likely a component of pay to play here (parents of current kids donating)

Reply to  Paul Windrath
1 year ago

It’s not like alumni are buying their kids spots on the team! These alumni are paying for the reinstatement of a sport, which students of W&M can participate in. They aren’t buying high schoolers admission into W&M. Also, even if that were true, it would be a double standard, not hypocrisy.

VA Steve
1 year ago

Honor meant something to the school president. Hooray and congratulations.

1 year ago

Athletic directors may hesitate to cut swimming because it may end up ruining their careers and getting them fired.

How much does it cost to support an aquatics program compared to other sports?

Tribe Parent
Reply to  Marklewis
1 year ago

I can only speak for the cost of the swim program at W&M, but it’s one of the least expensive sports on campus. That’s why the team cuts being justified as a cost cutting necessity was so ridiculous. They cut the least expensive sports. The expensive sport is football. They were using Covid as an excuse to get rid of sports in an effort to free up resources for football and basketball.

Reply to  Tribe Parent
1 year ago

Yes, this is true. Though, it’s my understanding that the cost of William & Mary on scale of D1 programs is about as cheap as they get – especially given the success that they had.

1 year ago

“Permanently” – meaning “until the next time we want to save a few bucks” 🙄

In seriousness, this is GREAT news. Very few teams have pulled this off – coming back from the dead. Congrats to WM

1 year ago

This is great! But it does show another poor AD. Athletic departments have really dropped the ball in the last year. By initially cutting these sports and bringing them back, they are severely hurting recruiting and the success of the team.

I don’t understand why these schools can’t figure things out before announcing they’re going to cut a program. It just seems like the AD office was lazy and didn’t do their job right the first time.

Reply to  JCO
1 year ago

And that’s why she lost her job. Didn’t even try to fundraise. Money was only part of it with our old ad and her desires for large football/basketball team presence didn’t align with the values of the school. She also made a lot of other mistakes that made people upset during her short time at wm. Yes it was a big shot in the foot to our program but we’ve always been resilient. That’s always been our whole mindset. And looking at the bright side people now know how supportive our alumni base is.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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