Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Board of Trustees authorizes athletic improvements, speakers address swim and dive

April 22, 2022
<p>The Michigan State University Board of Trustees met in the Hannah Administration Building on April 22, 2022. Supporters of the reinstatement of the varsity swim and dive team stand during their peer&#x27;s public comment. </p>

The Michigan State University Board of Trustees met in the Hannah Administration Building on April 22, 2022. Supporters of the reinstatement of the varsity swim and dive team stand during their peer's public comment.

Photo by Jared Osborne | The State News

The MSU Board of Trustees approved authorizations to proceed with renovations to the football complex and Spartan Stadium upgrades at its final meeting of the spring semester on April 22. 

Phase I of the football complex renovation will include securing the site, relocating the weight room, installing temporary walls and utilities and demolition. Construction will begin this month with substantial completion in October 2023. 

Vice President for Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Dan Bollman said this project is fully funded by donors. In June, he will come before the board again with a complete budget and design. 

“This project is really focused on student athlete success and well-being,” Bollman said. “It’s gonna add spaces like student wellness support, athletic recovery, improved locker rooms, equipment rooms, strength and conditioning, a player lounge and other amenities that focus on athletic health and well-being.”

The board also approved upgrades to Spartan Stadium, including North and East Bowl restoration and audio upgrades. 

“Not a real exciting project, but a really critical one,” Bollman said. “Since the Spartan Stadium is approaching 100 years old and when you have a concrete structure exposed to weather in Michigan, you have deterioration.”

These repairs include adding coatings to the treads and risers, adding expansion joints and replacement of the audio system. 

Student liaison Georgia Frost read updates from the Residence Halls Association. RHA has a seat on the Health, Wellness and Fitness Center planning committee and members learned that the current plans for the facility do not include an aquatic center.

“The new fitness facility needs to have an aquatic center,” Frost read. “Not including this aquatic facility will be one of the biggest mistakes you all make.”

RHA said the aquatic center is needed on campus for accessibility, rehabilitation, de-stress and club and intramural sports like water polo, swim and synchronized swimming.

“While RHA supports our swim and dive students and urged the board to reconsider that decision, this legislation isn’t about that,” Frost read. “It is about the thousands of students who depend and are asking for some sort of aquatic facility in this new facility and it is your duty to build this facility for us, for the students.”

Frost said ASMSU has standing legislation supporting the reinstatement of the swim and dive team. 

“The administrators I routinely meet with as student body president have never responded to me when it has to do with Spartan swim and dive,” Frost said. “I can only characterize this response as bizarre, considering I’ve never been treated this way on any other topic before.”

Supporters gathered in the boardroom for the Battle for Spartan Swim and Dive. Speakers including alumni and students delivered public comments urging the board to reinstate the team.

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Sophomore and former varsity team member Rachel Aycock said the university let her down when it cut the team.

“I trained over half my life to get to this point in my career, and within an hour or so, you guys changed my outlook on swimming forever,” Aycock said. “The day you guys decided to cut our team, I’ve never been made to feel worse. You made me feel worthless in every way possible.”

Chemistry senior Ava Boutrous was also a member of the former varsity team.

“Michigan State University’s men’s and women's swimming and diving team does not know how to quit,” Boutrous said. “Through our years of training, we’ve been constantly told to push through. Push through the tough set. Push through academics. Push through life with empowerment, determination and grace.”

Stanford swim coach and MSU alumnus Daniel Schemmel also spoke to the board in support of the team. He said discontinued sports at Stanford were reinstated after collaborative meetings with the administration.

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“This story demonstrates that true leadership is willingness to acknowledge and correct mistakes,” Schemmel said. “President Stanley, after witnessing one of your peers navigate a very similar situation, I hope that my story inspires you specifically to take action.”

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