Thursday, May 16, 2013
It's not such a great day to be a Seahawk!
I've had two sons go through UNCW's swimming program. My youngest, Daniel, is currently a rising sophomore. They both tell of how the coach, Dave Allen, is always upbeat and a pleasure to swim for. One of his famous sayings is, "It's a great day to be a Seahawk"(their mascot). Well, today we got some news that really puts a tarnish of this slogan. The university formed a task force to look at the athletic department of UNCW. They issued their recommendations today. They recommended doing away with 5 sports. Men's and women's swimming and diving is one of those five. We could deal with that, it would hurt, but Daniel has the grades and could transfer elsewhere. The killer is that they suggested it go into effect this year! That gives these athletes no recourse to further their training. Most of them, my son included, have goals of swimming in larger national venues. He's devoted the past 10 years of his life to this sport! A swimmer can't stop training for a year and still compete. It is a very demanding sport. He spends half of his week in the pool, in addition to several hours lifting weights or dryland training. This news is extremely devastating.
The swim team has won conference championships for 12 years in a row! The team has a cumulative grade point average over 3.0. These guys are very diligent! It is an extremely successful program. Major schools, Tennessee, Duke, Virginia Tech and Florida State have each sought out meets with UNCW! Ryan Lochte, the Olympic swimmer, has even tweeted his support of the program at UNCW!
The reasoning behind this is money! Swimming and diving doesn't make any money, yet does cost for travel to meets. The swim/dive team operates on a shoe string.(200 thousand with 3.75 full scholarships). The team has done everything to try to hold down costs. When they won the conference championship, instead of staying another night in the hotel, they drove from Fairfax, Virginia to Wilmington that very night. They arrived around 4 am! The swimmers pay for some of their equipment out of their own pockets. Still, they do cost some money, but the swim/dive team's success has brought a lot of positive publicity to the university, isn't that worth some money?
I'm devastated for my boy. It's heartbreaking to see him work and work and work and then have his goals jerked away from him.
There is a petition circulating here
It might not make any difference, but it's worth a shot. The chancellor will have the final say and will announce his decision in 2 weeks.
Please pray with me for God to do something about this situation. I know it's not life or death, but to my son and many other student athletes, it would be the end to their dreams.
I appreciate you signing the petition and praying for God to intervene.