Following what athletic director Scott Barnes called a “comprehensive review of all sports,” Oregon State University announced Monday that it would discontinue women’s swimming as an intercollegiate sport.
Barnes said that the decision was made based on the university’s commitment to provide all student-athletes a quality, equitable and comprehensive NCAA experience, and indicated that maintaining the swim team under those circumstances would be difficult financially. Providing an equitable facility was an area of specific concern.
“Facility requirements contributed to this decision as we realize that OSU campus pool facilities do not meet NCAA standards,” Barnes said in a release announcing the decision.
Oregon State’s swim team hosted home competitions at the Osborn Aquatic Center, a city-owned facility.
“It is cost prohibitive to renovate existing campus swimming facilities,” Barnes said. “A new swimming and diving facility would cost about $20 million to build, not including the cost of annual maintenance. Investing in competitive swimming program facilities would negatively impact the ability to serve facility requirements for all sports and all OSU student-athletes.”
The school said it would assist affected student-athletes who had wishes to transfer. Those that do transfer to another institution will be eligible for competition immediately.
The decision to cut the swim program affects 21 student-athletes and two coaches. It also brings the number of varsity sports offered at the school down to 17, including 10 women’s programs (gymnastics, volleyball, golf, rowing, basketball, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, softball, soccer, cross country) and seven men’s programs (football, basketball, baseball, soccer, golf, wrestling, rowing).
“Moving forward, Oregon State Athletics will sponsor approximately 550 opportunities for its student-athletes to compete at the highest level of NCAA intercollegiate sports,” Barnes said.