EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Over seven months after Michigan State University announced they were cutting their swimming and diving programs, Athletic Director Bill Beekman had a sit-down Zoom meeting with some members of the team and a handful of people closely involved.
The meeting lasted for two-hours today and those representing the swim and dive teams had a number of questions, namely:
- Why he told people in the program there was no plans to cut the team?
- Why he would cut loose some of the top students in the nation, who are on the swim team?
- Why they decided to scrap the program, just days before the university said they “assessed” building a new pool.
Beekman had a couple of different reasons for why he decided to cut the team.
“It’s our most expensive sport to get into a position to be more successful,” Beekman said. “Lining up the current and historic struggles with the extraordinary capital and infrastructure investment that would be required, that really caused us to take a harder look at swimming as a sport at Michigan State.”
Beekman at one point said that he doesn’t believe that he has been avoiding talking about the swim and dive team. Battle for Spartan Swim and Dive disagreed on Twitter.
“I don’t think we have been avoiding swimming and diving questions.” – Bill Beekman. Says the AD who has not met with the alumni until 210 days after being cut.— BATTLE FOR MSU SWIM AND DIVE (@battleformsu) May 20, 2021
The group had a handful more tweets on the meeting, you can view those below:
Amanda Ling, NCAA Diver qualifier for MSU, asks Bill why he cut swimming and diving so late into the season with the early nature of recruiting.— BATTLE FOR MSU SWIM AND DIVE (@battleformsu) May 20, 2021
The viability of swimming and diving as a sport being successful is not a new conversation, Bill essentially responds.
“These are people that inspire me and to see that passion leak out of them, and cry at the meeting. It was detrimental to our team.”— BATTLE FOR MSU SWIM AND DIVE (@battleformsu) May 20, 2021
PERFECTLY SAID (Jr. swimmer, Jack Hiss)
Michael Balow, the dad of swimmer Sophia Balow, released the following statement:
We are relieved to have finally met with Mr. Beekman nearly seven months after the cut. After meeting for two hours today, we are disappointed that some facts behind Mr. Beekman’s decision to cut the MSU swimming and diving team are still not known or transparent at all (such as the reasoning behind the timing of October 22, 2020, who he talked to within MSU to reach the decision, and more), but we are glad that Mr. Beekman has agreed to meet with representatives of the “Battle to Save Spartan Swim & Dive” group in the very near future to discuss specific ideas to keep the program active. Given that the program is 1.5% of the overall MSU athletic budget, and yet provides so many outstanding student-athletes, we believe that reinstatement of the team is a “win-win-win” scenario. A win for MSU, a win for the athletic department, and a win for the swimmers and divers themselves.
We appreciate the support of the trustees who were on the call in having this follow up meeting, and hope that MSU will follow in the footsteps of Stanford, Clemson, Dartmouth, William and Mary, and other schools which have cut Olympic sports in the last year and then reinstated them upon review of the facts.
We look forward to our follow up meeting with Mr. Beekman and the MSU trustees, exploring potential solutions and finding a path forward to reinstatement.Michael Balow, member of the Battle to Save Spartan Swim and Dive group