The move to save Maryland’s swimming and diving teams is gaining momentum, with supporters calling for a show of support at Saturday’s meet at the Eppley Recreation Natatorium (otherwise known as Maryland’s Rec Center) in College Park, which seats roughly 1,200.
Maryland hosts UMBC at 1 p.m.
“Bring a friend, bring a neighbor, bring your whole team,” urges a Friday posting on www.theswimmerscircle.com, calling on swimming supporters up and down the East Coast to attend the meet. “If 10 different club teams come out in force this meet, that’s already halfway to a sell-out crowd….Yes, we are being pushy, but be there and be boisterous. You won’t regret it.”
Meanwhile, Ursula Magee, parent of freshman swimmer Ryan Magee, has launched a “Save Maryland Swimming and Diving” petition on www.Change.org that has more than 1,600 signatures from across the country.
Among the online signatories is former Maryland swimming standout Jennifer Vogel, who writes: “As an incoming freshman in 2006 the athletic department and coaching staff stated that they were committed to building Maryland Swimming and Diving into a national caliber team. Over the last five years we have done this. We have started something and are making an impact at the national level. It would be a shame for the past, current and future athletes at to see this come to an end.”
Terps swimming supporters have launched a Facebook page, as well, and the website www.SaveUMDSwimming.org.
“They are not just figures in a budget,” the website proclaims of Maryland’s swimmers on its homepage. “These athletes are the rising leaders, teachers and entrepreneurs of our community.”
Members of the swimming and diving teams, along with women’s water polo, were informed by athletic director Kevin Anderson that their squads are expected to be a list of teams recommended to be dropped in order to solve a budget deficit that’s expected to reach $4.7 million this year and more than triple in five years.
Maryland currently fields 27 varsity sports—11 more than the NCAA minimum to compete in the highest classification of college sports.
The recommendations of the President’s Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics are due to be submitted to Maryland President Wallace Loh next Tuesday. Loh will make the final decision on how many sports, if any, to cut.