You hate to see the day that a university has to cut an athletic program and this just happens to be one of those days. Washington has been competing in swimming since 1932 and the list of Olympic athletes the school has produced in the sport goes back to the inception of the program.
Barbara Hedges tried to cut the program in 2000 but public outcry at the time allowed her to reinstate it. The story here is fund raising while attemepted after that scare really never amounted to much. The UW since it does not have an up to date on campus pool (blame Hedges again for turning down the King County Aquatic Center) compete at a serious disadvantage.
The cost of building a new pool would be in the range of $30 million and the money simply has never materialized. In addition to that their are more pressing matters at hand such as rebuilding the football stadium.
The move will save $1.2 million per year and the University is still faced with cutting another $1.6 million from the overall athletic budget to balance the books.
Getting back to Barbara Hedges when the Goodwill Games were being planned the committee's first site recomendation was to put the pool which is now in Federal Way on the lower campus of the University of Washington. The Uw declined the offer.
UW declined a windfall offer from Paul Allen to rebuild Husky Stadium at his own cost in exchange for a 15 year lease for the Seahawks to play at the stadium. That lease would be about over and Mr. allen would have set his eventual sites on downtown to build a new luxury palace for his football team. That was always his plan and the UW rejected it.
So here we are today wondering where we are going to get $150 million to help remodel the stadium and in the meantime because of the lack of a suitable facility we have to cut a sport that has been on campus since 1932.
We are looking at cutting $3 million from the overall budget because the football team isn't making the type of money it used to. Put this all squarely on the shoulders of William Gerberding, Barbara Hedges, and richard McCormick.
The positive thing is we currently have an AD and President who get it. I am sure they don't enjoy making tough decisions like this but sooner than later they are going to get us back to where we should be.
We just had a big bump in the road with SB 6116 but in the end it will get done and we will have a facility we can be all proud.