Maryland athletic department officials have reached a compromise with the group leading the drive to prevent the Terrapins men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams from being eliminated. While it’s no assurance the teams will be spared, it gives boosters more time to raise the $11.57 million that the university says is required for them to do so.
The swimming teams were two of eight Maryland squads put on the chopping block in November, part of the school’s attempt to address the athletic department’s multimillion-dollar deficit.
Under the compromise, unveiled Friday following a meeting between Athletic Director Kevin Anderson and representatives of Save Maryland Swimming and Diving, the June 30 deadline for raising the $11.57 million (which reflects eight years of operating costs) has been replaced by a series of benchmarks that show substantive progress toward the goal. But the $330,000 annual fee that the teams must pay to use the university’s state-of-the-art pool will not be waived; that represents roughly 25 percent of the team’s annual budget.
The swimming and diving teams now must raise $1.4 million by April 1 to get a favorable indication they’ll be continued. The date is significant because that’s when student-athletes with NCAA eligibility remaining must decide whether to transfer elsewhere.
The teams will be guaranteed to continue for one more season if they raise $2.8 million by June 30.
To ensure a longer-term future, the teams must then raise $5.79 million by Dec. 30, 2012. And the original goal ($11.57 million) must be raised by Dec. 30, 2013. At each stage, the money raised must be deposited in the University of Maryland College Park Foundation; it cannot simply be money pledged for some future date.
To ensure the teams’ long-term viability, a full endowment of $36.1 million is due in June 2020.
“I think it’s a fair and reasonable compromise,” Anderson said in an interview Friday. “Compromise is good, as long as you’re not going against your principles.”