Michigan State University cuts swim and dive program


Halee Alexander, Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic takes a hit on the budget for Michigan State University (MSU)  for the 2020-21 school year. Athletic Director Bill Beekman and President Samuel Stanley signed an open letter declaring the end of MSU swim and dive. 

“The Michigan State Athletic Directors cut our program out of nowhere. They left us confused and crushed,” MSU freshman Jamison Clark said. “Not only did they flip our worlds upside down during a world-wide pandemic, but they also gave us a poor reasoning for doing so.” 

The Detroit News posted an article and quoted Beekman as saying, “When the factors piled up between the cost crunch of the virus, the real inability for us to have facilities that allow us to recruit top-tier student-athletes with lack of a 50-meter pool and the weight of the decision, really the question began to answer itself.” 

While this may be a concern for Michigan State’s Bill Beekman, it is not a factor athletes are concerned about. Clark said, “Any swimmer would know that having a 50-meter pool is not necessary for training”

Even though the sport has been cut, Fox news posted an article early in 2020 giving the salary of MSU football coach Mel Tucker. He got a six-year contract that pays him a base salary of $3.8 million from the university.

MSU swim and dive coach Matt Gianidos coaches both the women’s and men’s teams. He was named head coach of both teams in 2003 with his base salary of $84,375. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, men’s swimming and diving had a budget of $757,063 and women’s had a budget of $977,224. Each team pays less than $200,000 for salaries. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams cost less than half the head football coaches salary to maintain the whole program.

Many of the athletes affected by the cut spent their lives training for this sport. After delivering the news, MSU decided to offer mental aid for the athletes in hopes of easing the transition. They offered the option of seeing a free psychiatrist and counseling programs for each of the athletes. 

MSU is honoring all scholarships offered to swimmers committed to the team and those already swimming on the program.