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Nebraska Swimming and Diving Update
From Douglas Garland
July 2001
It has been a long time since I had a chance to read all of my e-mail and I wanted to forward some of the highlights to everyone. I warn you that it is a long list (even my summary version) so I will put the Nebraska updates first then followed by the "national" swimming and diving updates.

1. Nebraska is still searching for a Women's Swimming and Diving Head Coach. Of course, there are conflicting reports as to how many people have been interviewed (between 3 and 7) and where they were interviewed (brought to Lincoln or over the phone). Excuse the pun, but don't hold your breath until we have an announcement.

2. The paid advertisement has spurred interest in our story and Phil Whitten's article about the AllTel deal has given this interest some legs. Tim has been interviewed by all of the Lincoln TV stations (in other words, both of them). Plus, the local CBS affiliate is planning for a more in-depth story about men's swimming and diving at NU. Tim is working out the details.

3. The paid advertisement has given us more supports in the Lincoln area. This will help to form a men's club team while we do not have a NCAA men's team. Also, it helps us to keep this story in front of the University and the community. I am extremely grateful for those who are starting to volunteer to help.

4. Athletic Department staff have hinted at the fact the Senior Staff was not involved in any of the decisions with dropping swimming and diving. This may be a story that slowly develops and it adds to our "Call for Accountability".

5. 3 national news organizations (Real Sport with Bryant Gumbel, 60 Minutes II, CBS News with Dan Rather) have expressed interest a story about the loss of men's sports including the situation in Nebraska.

6. In a strange twist, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has commented that the foreign athletes at Nebraska may have a case against Chancellor Perlman for his comments in an e-mail relating the men's program to international students. This is a strange twist considering that the OCR is also responsible for enforcement of Title IX. The OCR has invited us to send a formal letter to them regarding this situation.

7. Phil Whitten of Swimming World has been an extremely busy guy. He has stated that he had multiple sources for his AllTel article and he is following another lead relating to swimming and diving at Nebraska. In other words, he is planning a future article.

8. The Women's Sport Foundation (WSF) contacted Bev about our situation at Nebraska. Bev and the WSF are planning to have a discussion in the near future about the situation at Nebraska in regards to both men's and women's swimming and diving.

9. Chancellor Perlman has become irritated with any discussion of the dropping of men's swimming even if it relates to the women's team. A mother of 3 high school aged girls was able to engage the Chancellor with a discussion relating to the future of women's swimming at Nebraska. In the Chancellor's third e-mail to this family, he stopped copying the Regents on his e-mail and he basically told this mother to look for a different school. It was an aggressive e-mail considering he was addressing a potential future student for the University. In my opinion, he took out some of his frustration on this family.

10. Phil Whitten drafted a letter to the President and it was signed by Josh Davis (gold medals in 1996 and 2000 for swimming and a Bush campaign supporter) asking for the President to call for a "blue ribbon" commission to review Olympic sports at the college level.

11. Also, Phil's 32 page booklet titled, "How to Save your Swimming Program" will be sent to all collegiate swimming and diving head coaches by September.

12. Finally, Phil is trying to create a Legal Defense Team to assist swimming and diving supporters when their local college drops their swimming and diving program. This Legal Defense Team is chaired by a NH judge who is also a Masters Swimmer. They are looking for other lawyers who are interested in joining this team. The details can be found at www.swiminfo.com.

13. As ridiculous as some of the recommendations from the Knight Commission were, the basic element is that the spending in collegiate athletics has grown out of hand. University Presidents and faculty have voiced their opinions against this rising cost. Swimming and Diving will benefit from this discussion because our athletes are students first and this is another theme that has broad support. Other than the building of large aquatic facilities, the spending in our sport is under control. Even in the case of large aquatic facilities, swimming and diving facilities play an important role in their communities where they not only serve the college swim team, but also local teams and other aquatic programs. I do not believe you can say the same about state of the art baseball facilities, basketball facilities, or luxury sky boxes at the football stadium.

As you can see, things are moving. I am sure that it is not as fast as needed or in some situations ... much later than needed. However, if you are interested in Nebraska maintaining both a women's and men's swimming and diving team, then you have to be encouraged by these updates. I also want to remind you that I am just the messenger and we have others to thank for the progress above. I have not been able to single everyone out but all of us owe these volunteers a thank you for their hard work. Thanks,Doug