Competitive Issues Cited as Iowa State Discontinues Men's Swimming,
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
"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
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
"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
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.
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."