Monday, January 25, 2021

BREAKING: Michigan State athletics to cut swimming and diving as varsity sport starting 2021

October 22, 2020
<p>Freshman Haley Kornburger warms up before the swimming and diving meet against Michigan Feb. 6, 2015, at McCaffree Pool in IM Sports West.</p>

Freshman Haley Kornburger warms up before the swimming and diving meet against Michigan Feb. 6, 2015, at McCaffree Pool in IM Sports West.

Late Thursday afternoon, MSU athletics announced that the university will no longer sponsor men's and women's swimming and diving as varsity sports after the 2020-21 season.

According to a release signed by Athletic Director Bill Beekman and MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. the department projects a best-case scenario shortfall of more than $30 million in revenue this school year.

"The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have touched every area of our life," the release said. "It’s forced us all to evaluate not only our current place, but also our prospects for the future. Michigan State Athletics is not immune from those calculations."

All scholarships for student-athletes will be honored beyond this season for any student-athletes who choose to finish their undergraduate degree at MSU, the release said.

"Today’s decision does not end our commitment to the student-athletes and staff within the swimming and diving programs," the release said.

Program Head Coach Matt Gianiodis and the rest of the assistants on staff's contracts will be honored until June 30, 2021, according to the 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.

According to the release, the athletic department will help all student-athletes in the program who wish to transfer do so and also will help provide counseling and mental health services for those who would find it helpful.

The release cited the decision as one that would better position "Spartan Athletics for long-term financial stability."

The release also said that the worst-case scenario for financial losses would more than double the loss MSU athletics is currently expecting.

The letter closed with "Discontinuing a sport is one of the most difficult decisions for an athletic director and university leadership. It has a significant impact on members of our community, and when they hurt, we all hurt. While the decision we make today is final, we will continue to support our student-athletes and affected staff the best we can."

Beekman will hold a press conference at 5:30 to elaborate on the decision.

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