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Iowa State Discontinues Men's Swimming
Iowa State Press Release
Budget, Competitive Issues Cited as Iowa State Discontinues Men's Swimming, Baseball
Student-athlete scholarships will be honored.

April 2, 2001

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University athletics director Bruce Van De Velde, citing competitive and acute budget issues, announced Monday that baseball and men's swimming and diving would be discontinued as intercollegiate sports at ISU starting with the 2001-02 academic year. ISU will assist student-athletes in both sports seeking competitive opportunities at other schools and continue to honor its scholarship to any student-athletes who elect to stay at Iowa State.

"This is an extremely difficult decision to make and my heart goes out to the coaches and student-athletes impacted," Van De Velde said. "We intend to honor the scholarship commitments to all of our baseball and men's swimming student-athletes. After a comprehensive review of significant budget expense increases and competitive-related challenges, some outside of our control, I feel that we must discontinue men's swimming and baseball to maintain fiscal integrity that will help us sustain a strong competitive environment in the Big 12 Conference," Van De Velde said. "This decision was made with great reluctance."

"We rank among the nation's 25 most broad-based athletic programs on a budget that ranks among the smallest in the Big 12. Rising tuition costs, increased travel expenses, health insurance premium increases and increasing utility costs are among the fiscal realities that have brought us to this extremely difficult decision. We wanted to make this announcement now to give our student-athletes a chance to seek opportunities at other schools."

Iowa State interim president Dr. Richard Seagrave affirmed the tough choices facing the ISU athletic department and expressed his sympathy to the student-athletes and their families.

"I feel badly for our student-athletes and their families," Seagrave said. "These are financial realities that are being faced by athletic departments across the country," Seagrave said. "They are also consistent with the budget challenges ahead for the entire Iowa State University community."

Iowa State currently sponsors 20 intercollegiate sports, a total which equals the second-highest number of offerings in the Big 12 Conference. The Cyclones' athletic budget of $20.2 million ranks ninth in the league.

Van De Velde cited significant issues that have forced ISU and other Big 12 and NCAA institutions to make similar announcements:

*A 10 percent tuition increase for the upcoming school year will increase Iowa State's intercollegiate scholarship commitment by $400,000.
*Travel expenses are projected to increase by $225,000.
*Health insurance costs expected to rise by $100,000.

The elimination of Iowa State's men's swimming and baseball teams will bring a projected savings of $370,000 for the upcoming fiscal year and a $3.4 million budget reduction over the next five years.

"Part of this decision is financial, with the cost of doing business continuing to climb," Van De Velde said. "Even if we could cover those costs for the coming year, it is likely that we will face significant budget increases the following year. Because we will continue to pay scholarship expenses for those student-athletes who elect to stay at Iowa State, we will not be able to immediately eliminate all costs related to both programs."

A total of 68 student-athletes are on the current rosters of the Iowa State men's swimming and baseball teams. This figure includes 50 student-athletes who are receiving some type of athletic aid.

Van De Velde said several competitive issues figured prominently in the decision:

*Nebraska and Kansas, two of Iowa State's chief Big 12 Conference rivals in men's swimming, dropped the sport in the last month, leaving only three other league schools (Missouri, Texas, Texas A&M) as sponsors of men's swimming. Kansas also dropped men's tennis.
*The addition of the Texas schools to the former Big Eight schools in the formation of the Big 12 Conference raised the bar of competition for the Cyclone baseball team. The Big 12 league schedule includes scheduling of games in early March, which is not practical for Central Iowa. Iowa State is forced to compete against conference schools that can practice outdoors nearly year-round. The 1999 Cyclones played their first 15 conference games on the road.

"It grieves me terribly to make this move," Van De Velde said. "I want to underscore that this decision will help us more adequately support our remaining 18 sports which compete in one of the nation's premier conferences. I believe this will allow our more than 400 student-athletes the best possible chance for future success while representing Iowa State University."

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