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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
Wright State University will end its men's and women's swimming and diving programs after the current season even after the teams just narrowly survived recent budget cuts.
Scheduled to be a part of the university's $30.8 million in budget cuts, the swimming and diving program met the June 30 deadline to raise $85,000 to keep the men's and women's teams afloat.
But the university announced Friday it will "not allocate further funding or accept additional external funding to operate the men's and women's swimming and diving teams after this season."
The decision to end the programs after this season was made by the athletics department and the office of Wright State President Cheryl Schrader, according to WSU.
"In the face of adverse financial conditions, many people who love these student-athletes and programs stepped up this summer to make sure they could compete at Wright State for one more year in 2017-18," said Athletic Director Bob Grant in a prepared statement. "But it is clear we are not able to fund operations of these programs after this season. And counting on external funding alone to pay for operations is not sustainable nor is it fair to the student-athletes and their families because of the uncertainty it creates year-to-year."
The university has said it will honor the scholarships of any of the 38 swimmers and divers who elect to remain to finish their degrees and coach Kyle Oaks' contract, which runs through March 2018.
The men's and women's swimming and diving programs have been in existence since 1974, and have competed at the Division I level since 1987. They have combined to win 18 conference championships along with 228 individual and 77 relay titles.
The Raiders have competed at the WSU Natatorium since the program was founded, and the condition of that 44-year-old facility weighed heavily in the decision to cut the swimming and diving programs.
"Our facilities for the most part are wonderful, but any kind of long-term strategic plan we've ever done, we can't seem to find any way to provide a championship-caliber facility for swimming and diving," Grant told this news-aper in May. "A new facility would cost millions and millions of dollars, and in our current situation that's not possible."
Eliminating swimming and diving drops WSU to the minimum threshold of 14 intercollegiate sports to remain a Division I program.
The first meet of the final season is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 28, when the Raiders host Milwaukee.
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