Sports casualty of Wright State cuts: Swimming, diving programs


Wright State is eliminating its men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams as part of the $30.3 million in budget cuts announced at the university board of trustees meeting Friday morning.

»RELATED: Wright State hits its ‘low point’ with announcement of layoffs, budget cuts

The move is expected to save approximately $500,000 annually in scholarships, salaries, travel and facility maintenance. The university 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.

»RELATED: WSU budget cuts: School of Medicine may lose most, athletics least

“You don’t want to do these type of things,” Wright State athletic director Bob Grant said. “It’s a day you hope never comes. It’s painful. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. But when you’ve got to make these kind of cuts, you’ve got to be pragmatic about it.

“It’s been literally weeks and weeks of ongoing conversations,” Grant continued. “Almost from the time Dr. (Curtis) McCray came on board as the interim president, we’ve talked about any kind of cost-cutting measures. And they’re having those conversations with everyone on campus. The budget crisis is real, and I think everyone on campus has taken very seriously the thought that we’re going to have to do what’s best for the long-term success of the university.”

Despite the elimination of swimming and diving, the proposed 2018 budget shows an increase of $1.6 million in funding for the athletics budget.

Grant informed Oaks of the decision Thursday, and Oaks planned to inform the athletes, many of whom have returned home for summer break, Friday morning. Grant also mailed letters to the student-athletes affected.

“It will be hard for them to see this and read this, but we’re here for them,” he said. “Some will want to transfer, and some won’t. We want what’s best for them. If they want to stay and not swim and finish their degree, we’re going to support the heck out of them. If they want to continue their swimming career and their education someplace else, we’re going to help like crazy with that.

“These are wonderful student-athletes,” Grant continued. “They’re terrific ambassadors for the university. I care about them personally very much, which makes this very, very difficult.”

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.

Oaks has coached the men’s and women’s programs since 2013.

“I think the world of him,” Grant said. “He’s a first-class individual. He represents us well. I’m personally very, very fond of him, so this was a very painful conversation.”

The Raiders have competed at the WSU Natatorium since the program was founded, and the condition of that 44-year-old facility weighed heavy 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 said. “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.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

VIDEO: Reds’ Phillip Ervin does it all in 13-10 win over Cubs
VIDEO: Reds’ Phillip Ervin does it all in 13-10 win over Cubs

After homering for his first career hit Wednesday, Phillip Ervin’s encore was even better. Ervin hit a two-run, tie-breaking home run and added four RBIs in his first start, emerging as the difference in the Reds’ 13-10 shootout victory against the Cubs. It was the 25-year-old’s fifth game. He also had a single and double in his four...
Ohio State football: Micah Parsons sets visit, another black stripe gone, and more

Slot receivers are more important than ever, but salaries lag behind
Slot receivers are more important than ever, but salaries lag behind

The space between the end of an offensive line and an outside receiver, commonly called the slot, decides more NFL games than ever before. Cole Beasley lined up there on 85 percent of his snaps last season, and he led the Dallas Cowboys in catches and receiving yards. His ability out of the slot provided security and comfort for a rookie quarterback...
2017 fantasy football busts
2017 fantasy football busts

Here's a potential bust from each NFL team to help your fantasy football draft preparation: C.J. Anderson, RB: If you promised me he would make it through the season unscathed, I'd be all in. Tyreek Hill, WR: I'd be surprised if he matches his previous production, which only made him the 20th best WR in most standard leagues. Mike Williams, WR: He's...
Claire Liu, a rising teenage tennis player, reaches a crossroad
Claire Liu, a rising teenage tennis player, reaches a crossroad

During a recent practice, Claire Liu sent an easy forehand sailing to the fence beyond the baseline and pressed a palm to her forehead. “Smile, you’re having fun,” said Chris Tontz, Liu’s coach. “Am I?” she said with a laugh. She should be. Liu, 17, is currently the top-ranked junior in the world and the No. 292...
More Stories