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View Full Version : Clemson Univ swimming be phased out



born2fly
April 30th, 2010, 11:08 PM
Another college swim program going away. Have a couple of friends that swim there,what a shame.

http://clemsontigers.cstv.com/sports/c-swim/spec-rel/043010aaa.html

Lump
May 1st, 2010, 03:59 PM
Very unfortunate (and that is coming from a former Gamecock!) and not good for the sport. If this can happen a major ACC school it could happen at any school.

BTW, I just so happen to be in Clemson right now swimming in the Tiger Masters Meet. The pool is like a time capsule (locker room below deck, old style 25 yard pool). I'll take some pics tomorrow at the meet before I leave, I think its pretty unique.

gobears
May 1st, 2010, 05:45 PM
Unfortunately, Olympic sports seem to be on the way out as Football and Basketball programs have become the all-important sports for colleges. Gone are the days of offering athletics for students. Now it's all about big revenue sports making money and publicity for the school.

I wish the NFL and NBA had to have their own farm leagues (like baseball) instead of getting a free ride off of the NCAA.

Muppet
May 1st, 2010, 07:26 PM
crap, one of my kids is going there next year...

sjstuart
May 1st, 2010, 07:35 PM
I teach at Clemson, and have had some swimmers in my classes. It's definitely a shame that the swimming program is being phased out. But it's also absolutely true that the pool is substandard. They totally renovated the gym complex 5 years ago, but left the pool pretty much untouched.

swimshark
May 1st, 2010, 08:13 PM
crap, one of my kids is going there next year...

Zandy?

jroddin
May 1st, 2010, 09:00 PM
For curiousity, I wonder what percentage of NCAA Division I schools have a 50m pool. The AD cited the primary reason for dropping swimming is because they can't compete if they don't have a 50m pool. I have a feeling the AD was just grasping for straws and came up with that reason because he was too much of a coward to admit the real reason.

tjrpatt
May 1st, 2010, 09:06 PM
For curiousity, I wonder what percentage of NCAA Division I pools have a 50m pool. The AD cited the primary reason for dropping swimming is because they can't compete if they don't have a 50m pool. I have a feeling the AD was just grasping for straws and came up with that reason because he was too much of a coward to admit the real reason.

Yeah, because NCAA champs are totally competed in Long course pools! :) Wow, that is the best that the AD could come up with.

Lump
May 1st, 2010, 09:45 PM
Where I swam, University of S. Carolina, may be the only school in the state with a 50M pool. We only had a 5M platform for diving as well. I don't believe their is a 7.5 or 10M diving platform facility in the State. Our diving team used to have to travel up to Duke University to train platform (which my buddy on the diving team ended up being All-American in).

no200fly
May 2nd, 2010, 07:35 AM
Our diving team used to have to travel up to Duke University to train platform (which my buddy on the diving team ended up being All-American in).

One strange thing about the story is that the women's diving team will continue. Anybody know the story there?

SolarEnergy
May 2nd, 2010, 08:51 AM
For curiousity, I wonder what percentage of NCAA Division I pools have a 50m pool. The AD cited the primary reason for dropping swimming is because they can't compete if they don't have a 50m pool. I have a feeling the AD was just grasping for straws and came up with that reason because he was too much of a coward to admit the real reason. That argument can not in itself justify a decision to stop teaching life through high performance sport, which should be the number one reason for committing to college sports program at the first place.

Very sad.

Lump
May 2nd, 2010, 03:58 PM
Here are some pics I took of the pool this morning before warmups started. I think I was the SECOND one there! :D

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/d696052f.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/b2663167.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/f6e6ce97.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/34216ba1.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/82fc9580.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/3db6fc8d.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/214ffdac.jpg

Lump
May 2nd, 2010, 04:00 PM
Some of the locker rooms (sorry ladies, they were empty!:D )

http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/4fffc0eb.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/da5e37f3.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/8fa7543a.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/fecb3682.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/718e524d.jpg
http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg142/Gamecock71/Clemson%20Masters%20Meet/5588c067.jpg

That Guy
May 2nd, 2010, 06:11 PM
Looks like a pretty decent facility. I wouldn't mind swimming there; it's nicer than some of the pools I've competed in this year. It doesn't make sense to me that the pool is the reason the program is getting the axe.

want2beafish
May 3rd, 2010, 07:56 AM
Here are some pics I took of the pool this morning before warmups started. I think I was the SECOND one there! :D

Great pictures! And I see that you got a couple that caught the group that got there before you. :blush:

sjstuart
May 3rd, 2010, 07:58 AM
For curiousity, I wonder what percentage of NCAA Division I schools have a 50m pool. The AD cited the primary reason for dropping swimming is because they can't compete if they don't have a 50m pool. I have a feeling the AD was just grasping for straws and came up with that reason because he was too much of a coward to admit the real reason.

I don't know about Div I schools, but apparently Clemson is the only school in their conference (ACC) without a 50 m pool.

aquageek
May 3rd, 2010, 09:19 AM
This whole story really annoys me on a number of levels. First, one of my best swim buddies swam at Clemson and is a proud Tiger and really support(ed) the program. He's in a rotten mood about this. Second, a very close friend's son is/was headed there as a freshman next Fall. This kid is a spectacular swimmer and a very accomplished student and could have gone to most any program in the nation. The mood at his house is bleak right now. And, lastly, if you know Clemson, you know they spare no expense on football. It's ridiculous. There are plenty of schools with great football programs who also have great swimming programs, three others with orange in their colors come immediately to mind. They can rot down there as far as I'm concerned now.

osterber
May 3rd, 2010, 10:17 AM
Plenty of schools would love to have that facility...

-Rick

bbpolhill
May 3rd, 2010, 10:18 AM
My daughter is headed to Clemson this fall as a freshman with purple and orange adorning her room and her parents' cars. She is pretty shocked and forlorn since she commited way back in October. I am most incensed about the timing of this announcement...April 30 which is one day before the last day that high school students make their final choice as to what school they will attend. There was not even an inkling that this program was in jeopardy (although I guess you have to assume that every program is in jeopardy at this point). We feel somewhat fortunate that at least there is a 2 year phaseout period in which the alumni have a chance to step up with fund raising efforts. Other swim programs have been dropped with even less sense of fairness to the student athletes involved.

bbpolhill
May 3rd, 2010, 10:28 AM
Plenty of schools would love to have that facility...

-Rick

I agree. It's not the best, but it's not the worst. I think the school is disingenuous when they cite the pool as the issue. It has been estimated that it costs the school a million dollars a year to run this program.

Is it improper to allocate some revenue from the financially successful basketball and football programs to support the ancillary athletic programs? I don't think so since it is these programs, alumni, and community that supports the basketball and football teams. Besides who is going to enhance Clemson's student-athlete GPA if not the 65 fully matriculated swimmers?

Lump
May 3rd, 2010, 10:30 AM
There is a Facebook page that has been created for you Facebookers....Save Clemson Swimming & Diving.

swimshark
May 3rd, 2010, 10:33 AM
My daughter is headed to Clemson this fall as a freshman with purple and orange adorning her room and her parents' cars. She is pretty shocked and forlorn since she commited way back in October. I am most incensed about the timing of this announcement...April 30 which is one day before the last day that high school students make their final choice as to what school they will attend. There was not even an inkling that this program was in jeopardy (although I guess you have to assume that every program is in jeopardy at this point). We feel somewhat fortunate that at least there is a 2 year phaseout period in which the alumni have a chance to step up with fund raising efforts. Other swim programs have been dropped with even less sense of fairness to the student athletes involved.

I'm sorry this happened to your daughter. I hope the efforts will work and the program can be saved.

craig68
May 3rd, 2010, 10:46 AM
Just awful. I feel SO, badly for current students and those that are starting their freshman year in the fall. What should be such an exciting time in their lives is filled with uncertainty and (maybe) regret.

And I know only a small fraction of high school athletes receive scholarships to compete in college, so that's not why most kids compete in sports. But it's still just not good for USA swimming when another door closes for kids looking to swim in college.

BUT, I have to ask this question.... It's been discussed before, but I don't remember seeing good data. Are we sure that the football program is at all to blame? Of course these programs cost a fortune, but I thought they were big revenue generators through ticket sales, TV rights, support from alumni who still feel connected specifically because of football, licensed apparel, you name it. I always believed the money for my scholarship and our entire swim program at Alabama was due to our very successful football program. Does anyone have good data on this issue?

sjstuart
May 3rd, 2010, 11:06 AM
I was also glad to hear that they were phasing the program out over 2 years, and keeping all scholarship commitments -- including supporting kids on scholarships beyond the time when the swimming ends.

But the timing really is terrible for incoming freshmen. I don't think this was done to "trap" them into coming to Clemson, however. The local papers cited officials as saying that the decision was made by the athletic director a week ago, but was withheld until April 30 so as not to spring it on the current swimmers during finals week.

Commitment deadlines or not, I'd imagine rising freshmen could still change their decision, given the special circumstances.

sjstuart
May 3rd, 2010, 11:10 AM
Another bit of local info...

As recently as 3 weeks ago, I had heard that we (Clemson) were going to build a 50-meter pool. With specifics about where it would be located, what building would be torn down, etc.

I'd guess that decision got torpedoed at the April meeting of the Board of Trustees, and the swim program's fate was tied to that decision.

bbpolhill
May 3rd, 2010, 11:13 AM
Commitment deadlines or not, I'd imagine rising freshmen could still change their decision, given the special circumstances.

Maybe, but the same opportunities are long gone. There is no scholarship money left at other schools and there may be no roster spots available at similar level programs. It might not have been the intent, but the incoming freshman are essentially "trapped" for at least one year. That is not to say that we do not hold out hope that Clemson Swimming and Diving will thrive in the near future and beyond.

sjstuart
May 3rd, 2010, 11:14 AM
Maybe, but the same opportunities are long gone. There is no scholarship money left at other schools and there may be no roster spots available at similar level programs.

Very true.

philoswimmer
May 3rd, 2010, 11:44 AM
UC Davis has a brand new 50m pool, and that didn't stop them from canceling the men's swimming program this year. :(

rjfetter
May 3rd, 2010, 01:47 PM
BUT, I have to ask this question.... It's been discussed before, but I don't remember seeing good data. Are we sure that the football program is at all to blame? Of course these programs cost a fortune, but I thought they were big revenue generators through ticket sales, TV rights, support from alumni who still feel connected specifically because of football, licensed apparel, you name it. I always believed the money for my scholarship and our entire swim program at Alabama was due to our very successful football program. Does anyone have good data on this issue?

The Clemson football staff's total compensation increased 52%, from $2.66 million to $4.055 million this year. The head coach, alone, got a $900,000 raise. I bet that 1.4 million dollars would go a long way towards funding a swim team. http://clemson.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1061204

I know that's the going rate for college coaches these days, but the fact that swimming got cut at the same time points to the increase coming at the expense of other sports programs, as opposed to higher TV & ticket revenues.

Part of the problem is that schools like Alabama and my alma mater, Notre Dame, among a few others, do make enough money through football to fully fund their sports programs. They can afford huge salaries for their coaches. Smaller schools like Clemson can't compete at football without sacrificing somewhere.

aquageek
May 3rd, 2010, 02:03 PM
Smaller schools like Clemson can't compete at football without sacrificing somewhere.

Um, you obviously have never been in or around Clemson football. It's big time football. Stadium seats 82,000 and is top 20 in attendance and revenue, more than ND in fact (attendance only). Football revenue is north of $35 million, hardly small school numbers. I suggest you take a trip to Death Valley on a Fall Saturday. This excludes the fact that everyone who roots for Clemp's Son has to have 7 or 8 stickers on their car and contribute to IPTAY.

rodent
May 3rd, 2010, 02:12 PM
The facility is good enough. If it wasn't good enough how would they be able to have a women's program? They won't save much money either, since they have to pay a coach and pool maintenance for the women's team. The only expenditures that are cut are the men's coaches salaries, a few schollies and travel expenses for the men's team.
My guess is that they save $225,000 per year tops, which is about what they pay an assistant football coach.
I think probably when they fired their football coach last year w/o cause they were stuck paying his salary AND the new coach's salary as well. Because of that fiasco the Clemson Athletic Dept. is probably over budget.
Clemson swimmers should file an OPRA reguest, get the financial records and do the math.:2cents:

sjstuart
May 3rd, 2010, 02:44 PM
Athletics is entirely self-funded at Clemson... with an extra $2.8 million kicked back to the academic side of campus.

That's both good and bad. The football team is a golden goose that pays for a lot of other sports programs. But the budget does have to balance. There's surely at least some truth to the implication that the swimming program paid for the football coach's raise.

It's too bad there are not 80,000 people willing to pay $50 each to watch a swim meet, in which case we wouldn't be having this discussion.

sjstuart
May 3rd, 2010, 02:46 PM
The facility is good enough. If it wasn't good enough how would they be able to have a women's program?

They're cutting women's swimming, too. It's women's diving that they're keeping.

craig68
May 3rd, 2010, 03:18 PM
Okay, playing devil's advocate here. I hate that Clemson is losing its program. But all of this depends on one's own personal bias. The Clemson football program yields a profit. Many folks are up in arms because the football program is keeping more of its own money instead of 'sharing' with the swim team. But someone who doesn't care a thing about any sports could argue that we who support NCAA swimming are also being greedy. After all, it takes several hundred thousand dollars a year in university funds to pay for swim coaches' salaries and travel and scholarships that directly benefit only 30-40 (probably upper-middle class) swimmers. Those funds could be diverted to pay for scholarships for needy students or university facilities or amenities available to all students. I'm just sayin'.....

rjfetter
May 3rd, 2010, 03:27 PM
Um, you obviously have never been in or around Clemson football. It's big time football. Stadium seats 82,000 and is top 20 in attendance and revenue, more than ND in fact (attendance only). Football revenue is north of $35 million, hardly small school numbers. I suggest you take a trip to Death Valley on a Fall Saturday. This excludes the fact that everyone who roots for Clemp's Son has to have 7 or 8 stickers on their car and contribute to IPTAY.

Good grief...my intention wasn't to offend anyone regarding the status of Clemson football.

The only numbers I can find for Clemson's football revenue was from 2007-2008, where they brought in a little lesss than $60 million, good for 30th in the country. Lots of money, to be sure, but less than half the $120 million the top school (Texas) took in. Most of the top 10 were $100 million and above.

That's a big disparity, and that's what I'm talking about. When you're pulling in $100 million on football, you can afford to throw $4-5 million at your football coach and still have plenty left over for your other teams. When you're only bringing in half that, then you start having to make decisions, like we'll give the football coach another million, but we'll have to lose the swim team.

Even if I'm wrong about Clemson, specifically, that doesn't mean it isn't a problem.

aquageek
May 3rd, 2010, 03:31 PM
Yeah, that's a bunch of bogus arguments piled into one paragraph, here's why:

1. The pool is available to all students and faculty and local clubs generally, not just the team. The cost to maintain the pool does not change if the program is cancelled unless they fill in the pool. So, swimming keeps an amenity around, not vice versa as you suggest.
2. Universities are not set up to turn profits, hence their non profit status.
3. Hundreds of millions of dollars in scholarships go unused a year. Cutting swimming won't change that or send any more kids to college, needy or otherwise.
4. A tenured professor probably earns more than a college swim coach and spends less time with his/her students, and probably has less of an impact on their lives.
5. Sports are part of the college experience. Who wants to go to a school with no sports?
6. What does one's socio economic status have to do with swimming? Swimming has an incredibly high graduation rate versus football and basketball. Graduates earn more than non graduates and therefore return more money to the economy and probably the school.

rodent
May 3rd, 2010, 04:21 PM
If women's diving can still use the pool it would seem to be safe for swimming too.
Wikipedia said Clemson paid Tommy Bowden 3.8 million$$$$, to leave. Clemson football has about 100 guys on scholarship and I would guess their expenses are pretty high, since on top of paying a coaching staff, travel, a band, cheerleaders, etc. they are paying a former coach.
I would think that tuition and state revenue are the main sources of income at most universities.
If Clemson football is really raking in the big bucks, why not throw a few paltry $100,000 to the swimming team?
They are keeping the divers anyway and a coach could also teach a swimming, scuba or other PE class.

philoswimmer
May 3rd, 2010, 04:51 PM
Okay, playing devil's advocate here. I hate that Clemson is losing its program. But all of this depends on one's own personal bias. The Clemson football program yields a profit. Many folks are up in arms because the football program is keeping more of its own money instead of 'sharing' with the swim team. But someone who doesn't care a thing about any sports could argue that we who support NCAA swimming are also being greedy. After all, it takes several hundred thousand dollars a year in university funds to pay for swim coaches' salaries and travel and scholarships that directly benefit only 30-40 (probably upper-middle class) swimmers. Those funds could be diverted to pay for scholarships for needy students or university facilities or amenities available to all students. I'm just sayin'.....

College swimming matters because:

Swimming is a sport that can be done by almost anyone, at any age, and is one of the healthiest, most low impact forms of exercise.

Kids are inspired to swim in part because of the promise of college scholarships and college competition.

College swimmers feed Masters programs which draw in many other swimmers for a lifetime of swimming.

It is the job of universities to produce people who are prepared to engage in the world as healthy, productive, and engaged citizens (in this professor's opinion). Swimming can play a big role in that.

College swimming is the linchpin.

__steve__
May 3rd, 2010, 06:00 PM
Clemson does manufacture some of the best blue-cheese though. Had to pick up $40 worth to take home to family memebers while I was there.

tjrpatt
May 4th, 2010, 10:44 AM
College swimming matters because:

Swimming is a sport that can be done by almost anyone, at any age, and is one of the healthiest, most low impact forms of exercise.

Kids are inspired to swim in part because of the promise of college scholarships and college competition.

College swimmers feed Masters programs which draw in many other swimmers for a lifetime of swimming.

It is the job of universities to produce people who are prepared to engage in the world as healthy, productive, and engaged citizens (in this professor's opinion). Swimming can play a big role in that.

College swimming is the linchpin.


I think that college swimming still matters for girls but less and less for guys nowadays. Between title 9 and the economy, If you aren't finaling at Grand Prix meets/National meets, more and more male swimmers have fewer options for college swimming. Quality male swimmers have to retire after high school because there aren't scholarships and few male college swim teams to choose from. Or, if they get accepted to their dream college, that college just might not have a male swim team.

philoswimmer
May 4th, 2010, 11:49 AM
I think that college swimming still matters for girls but less and less for guys nowadays. Between title 9 and the economy, If you aren't finaling at Grand Prix meets/National meets, more and more male swimmers have fewer options for college swimming. Quality male swimmers have to retire after high school because there aren't scholarships and few male college swim teams to choose from. Or, if they get accepted to their dream college, that college just might not have a male swim team.

What I was trying to suggest was that college swimming matters for the sport of swimming as a whole. You're right that as fewer colleges have swim teams, there will of course be fewer expectations of college swimming. And my prediction is that *all* of swimming will suffer as a result, not just the swimmers themselves who don't get to swim in college.

aquageek
May 6th, 2010, 09:30 AM
If you want to get all the data for college athletics, here is the ultimate source:

http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/Index.aspx

PArob83
May 13th, 2010, 12:42 AM
Aquageek,
awesome tool, it was good to see some data.