College of Charleston ending swimming, diving teams

College of Charleston ending swimming, diving teams

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The College of Charleston is ending the men's and women's swimming and diving teams.

Athletic Director Joe Hull says the decision was made after a year-long study.

The Stern Center pool will also close at the end of the school year. Hull says the pool is 40 years old and is badly in need of expensive repairs.

As for the current 57 student-athletes, they'll have the chance to transfer or stay at the school where the scholarships will be honored.

This will be the team's final season.

Hull released the following statement on Friday:

It is with great regret that I announce that the College of Charleston will no longer have NCAA Division I men's and women's swimming and diving programs after the 2014-15 season. Additionally, the 40-year-old Stern Center pool will close after the spring 2015 semester.

The worst thing I have to do as an athletics director is to tell student-athletes they will no longer be able to compete for their current university.

We will honor all scholarship commitments to our swimming and diving student-athletes. If they choose to transfer to another school, we will grant a release, which will enable them to compete during the 2015-16 season (there is no requirement that student-athletes sit out a year if they transfer).

This decision was made following a comprehensive, year-long study. The pool, which was built in 1974-75 and updated in 2000, is in poor condition and requires maintenance nearly weekly. Just replacing the specialized HVAC system would cost $1.5 million. It was concluded that the financial costs to maintain and repair the facilities were too much to overcome.

The athletics department and College administration will provide access to recreational and competitive swimming. The College is currently working with the City of Charleston to use its facilities, one of which is in downtown Charleston. This downtown pool is currently used by the city's Southern Marlins Racing Team (SMRT), which is affiliated with USA Swimming, and is home to a U.S. Master's swimming team.

Unfortunately, the cutting of the NCAA Division I swimming and diving programs is part of the financial realities that are being faced by athletics departments across the country. These financial challenges could increase in the future with the new NCAA governance structure.

Ending our programs was not a decision we took lightly, and we understand the impact to our student-athletes and coaches.

I would like to thank Interim Head Coach Bora Yatagan for the work he has done at the College of Charleston. I would also like to thank the current and former student-athletes who have been a part of the 40-year swimming and diving history at the College of Charleston. They have represented the best values of collegiate athletics and have, season after season, done the College proud.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. All rights reserved.