Michigan State announced the elimination of the men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs on Oct. 22.
ALERT: Michigan State is cutting men's and women's swimming and diving, effective at season's end.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) October 22, 2020
The move will take place after the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, with COVID-19 playing a key role, according to a university release.
“We understand that the news is devastating to our outstanding student-athletes in these sports, as well as to their coaches, but with every thoughtful analysis it became increasingly clear that we were not positioned to offer the best experience to our student-athletes, either now or in the future,” the release stated.
Michigan State says the scholarships will be honored beyond this year for any student-athlete who wishes to finish their undergraduate degree.
Students wishing to transfer will be given the necessary help, while coaches will have their contracts honored through June 30, 2021.
“During this transition, and for the duration of the student-athletes’ time at Michigan State, the athletic department will offer counseling and mental health services for those who would find them of assistance,” the release continued.
Update: Bill Beekman’s Press Conference Announcing Decision
Athletic Director Beekman made clear the department long term cannot sustain the full array of programs they have now with the looming financial costs. Even with expected television revenue, the loss of ticket sales and ticket premiums leaves a large revenue loss that will not quite match expenses. Conservative estimates project a $30 million shortfall, and worst-case places that more than double.
Given the financial hardships, the reckoning that was coming due with the swimming and diving teams was accelerated. MSU determined the infrastructure issues facing the teams combined with the financial hardship the athletic department is facing provides no long term solution to competitive disadvantages team members face.
This is primarily due to the fact Michigan State athletics does not currently have access to an indoor pool that meets the fifty meter length college competition required for both quality training and to host meets in. Similarly, the IM West pool is owned by MSU rather than the athletics department, and managed by the recreation department. The outdoor pool closed due to infrastructure issues, with no renovation timeline in place or funding to deal with the issue. This removed even a regulation length training facility for the teams.
He did not say bringing the teams back in future years is out of the question if the resources and facilities can emerge. However, at this time there is no feasible way to continue while providing a competitive advantage fair to current and future athletes in MSU’s view.